(Confession: I feel a little weird writing this, but I’m using it as a self-reflection, not a critique of my classmates.)
After visiting Nicole’s class and critiquing other TA’s assignments in class, I feel much more comfortable about my own teaching. This is not to say that I think I’m a better teacher than anyone else. What I mean, mostly, is that I think I’m more comfortable in the classroom than many of the other TAs. I spend time preparing for each class (1-2 hours), and even before we discussed it in 6300, I wrote out my assignment sheets for my students rather than giving assignments orally.
What I noticed particularly about Nicole’s class is that she still seems rather nervous in front of her students. There were several points when her train of thought seemed to trail off or she seemed unsure what she wanted the class to do next. The lesson plans I write out for each class provide a roadmap when I’m standing in front of my class, which makes me far less nervous. Granted, Nicole said that having me in the back of the classroom made her nervous, which is probably true.
I guess my point is just that after several weeks of seeing my classmates’ assignments and observing classes, I see that I’m not still floundering. I feel competent and put together most days. In fact, I realized the other day that I can predict ahead of time when a class isn’t going to go well: those are the classes that I haven’t prepared well for or don’t have a clear sense of what I want to have the class do.