Andy's a teacher?!

So, I got my first taste of teaching recently… As I may have explained before, the Pharmacological and Physiological Science Department at SLU (of which I’m a member…) runs a class for undergrad non-science majors every Fall titled “Drugs We Use And Abuse.” It accepts 50 students a semester and tends to be pretty popular, mostly because instead of learning basic biological principles, you learn more about specific drugs and their effects on people and society.

This is my first time teaching the class, and teaching in any form for that matter… I got to teach the Alcohol section, which consisted of two lectures, the first of which was Alcohol and the Body (i.e. mechanisms and physiological effects) and the second was Alcohol and Society (i.e. alcohol on campus, alcoholism, Prohibition, etc.). The first lecture was infinitely more interesting for me, and for the students too, I think. I talked about how alcohol works on the body and had a decent number of questions… The stuff today was pretty straight-forward and largely consisted of things the students already knew (as in, heavy alcohol use tends to lead to drunk driving, violence, skipping school, etc.).

So yeah, I think I enjoyed the experience overall. I had to write a quiz for my section, then wrote a few exam questions that will be administered in a week or so. Perhaps next year I’ll expand a bit and run more of the class, and more lectures. It’s team-taught, meaning that we each get a section to work on and all contribute to the exam for each section.

Regardless, I’m still planning on the “going into industry” route after graduation (in three years…), but teaching wasn’t bad! Maybe I’ll get more into it later on? Who knows…

More and more craziness, I say…being on the other side of the desk for once… 😛

5 Replies to “Andy's a teacher?!”

  1. Gonna throw this out there:

    In my experience, teachers that spend their entire life in the education system are _significantly_ worse than those that take many years off to do something else. By “entire life” I mean “primary skoo -> secondary skoo -> college -> probably grad skoo -> teaching job.

    Without question, the teachers I have learnt the most from spent years in “industry”, then went back to teach after spending years and years outside of academia.

  2. And dude, I agree entirely… From Mr. Kyd in high school to Dr. McCurdy at Truman, those that have actually worked in the “real world” tend to be the most effective and down-to-earth teachers. My optimal plan would be to work in industry for 15-20 years and save up some cash, then move to where I could work at a small teaching college in the vein of Truman…

    The problem with this, I’m hearing, is that the transition is kinda difficult for biologists to complete, largely because most people in industry don’t publish papers all that often, and if you haven’t published anything in 15-20 years, it can be hard to get a job. Now, teaching colleges treat this fact differently than large research institutions, so I’m not sure it’d be a huge issue…but it could make things difficult. I have been hearing, though, that those with Ph.Ds can teach high school for awhile and then advance rapidly to the point when you’re deciding the curriculum for entire districts (or requirements for the state?).

    In short, homes, “I agree.” 😛

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