Thursday, October 17, 2002

Have life, need direction
I have actually started thinking about what I'll do when the thesis is done. The college wants me to head a large application for a grant in the new program the Norwegian Board of Research opens, but I am not convinced. I feel like I need a little time to catch my breath. And the kind of breath I need to catch has to do with teaching. I am brought up in the classic, grand tradition of university lectures. I am an expert at being overprepared and killing the students off with quotes, stuffing each sentence with five times as much information they need, and discussing problems way beyond their comprehension. This makes my lectures into excellent sources for references when I want to write articles and grant applications... but it makes for lousy teaching.

I need to learn how to teach. I need to understand how to build a series of classes, a course or practical exercises to make the students understand where they are going and what they will get from it. I need to learn about process-based teaching, about self-evaluation and about learning by doing, and I need to teach the students how to ask questions and then find the answers, both academically and in the not-so-academic world outside the college. Taking a class at the teacher's college won't do - I might want to go and stay at an other college for a few weeks or months, just learning their routines and seeing how their schedules work, get ideas and carry it home to the students here in Volda.

And yes, I want to do it for the students... but also... I want it for myself. I am terrified before each new lecture, a nervous, shivering wreck, afraid that I won't do well enough. It's irrational and stupid but it's the sad reality, and I need to deal with it: Take on my fear, and learn how to teach!

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