Saturday, September 21, 2013

Those who can, teach.

The coolest thing happened the other day in the lab that I teach.  One of my students was two hours late (this is not meant to be sarcastic, but I have to tell you this so you understand the rest of the story).  Because she was so late, her lab partner began the lab without her.  He was a bit nervous about having been cast off on his own, but as the TA, I tried to help him as best as I could. 

Unfortunately, my co-TA had come down with strep throat and at the last minute, she couldn't come to lab.  I, too, had been cast off on my own.

The professor was around for some of the lab period, and there are only ten students all together, but I learned a variation on Murphy's Law that day: all of the students will have questions at the same time.

My co-TA is an undergrad who has taken this particular course before, so I have been especially grateful for her experience.  In some ways, I was no different from my student who was temporarily without a partner.

An hour and a half into the lab period, that student got my attention.  We worked through another point of confusion with the experiment, and he said to me, smiling, "I really learned a lot today."  

What was equally awesome was the care he took with his lab partner when she finally arrived.  Newly an expert at this particular activity, he began explaining to her some of what he had done.  While I would never wish for my students to be late to lab, this was the best possible outcome.  It reminded me of a line I heard once:

“I've learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.” ~ Maya Angelou

Peace and all good,

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