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September 29, 2007

This week reminded me, again, of the effect attitude can have. We had this TA training, learning how to be good teachers. There were 51 students, so we got split into three groups for the two days of training. Our PF (like a TA for TAs) was Renee, and to think of what she’s like imagine Katie running her summer camps at the museum: pure enthusiasm for what she’s teaching. I’ve compared notes with the group in our room, and we all loved it. We learned a lot, got a lot of different ideas about how to handle teaching and administrative takes, and had a great time doing it.
Turns out, we were about the only ones. I was blown away the other night when training came up when I was hanging out with kids from the other two groups. They started in on this training, and basically said the whole thing was a load of crap. They’d learned nothing, enjoyed nothing, and were angry that they had to go.
Now, to interject. Yeah, a lot of training focused on games which make learning fun, and we are teaching college kids so I can see how that wouldn’t work for those who have let themselves grow up and stop having fun. But we learned a lot of other things as well. We talked about different learning styles, and how you need to be aware that some of your students learn differently than you do. We talked about the department’s expectations of TAs, like the fact that we’ll prolly have to write exam questions. We got introduced to the structure of the department so that we knew who to talk to with problems and questions. We got a chance to teach and have our teaching critiqued by our classmates. We learned about the ethnic and socio-economic background of our students, including the fact that 90% either were born in another country or are children of immigrants.
Yet my friends in the other groups learned nothing in this training. Apparently they have access to all sorts of information I don’t, because everything in that last paragraph was new to me, and I’ve taught a college course before. But they didn’t like playing games or wasting time learning how to be a better teacher. After all, apparently, screw those freshmen. If they aren’t smart enough (and stubborn enough and lucky enough) to learn it in the horrible way we were taught then they deserve a bad grade.
*laughs* I’m in so much trouble if any of them read my lj…
It reminds me of a realization Katie and I came to after living in the house in A2 for a while. The whole house would get together and grouch about how busy we were, and we always wanted to be the most busy person, as if there was a prize or something. We’d end up talking ourselves into feeling constantly very stressed. Eventually I had to come to the realization that I’d never win, and I was hurting myself by trying to win this stupid game anyway. I started reminding myself that some weeks WEREN’T completely stressful, and that sometimes I did have free time.
It’s so easy to get into a bad attitude, I’ve found. It’s so easy to talk myself into being miserable, and wanting the world to take pity on me. It’s also not to hard, though, to talk myself out of it, and be positive again. It was entirely possible for me to have gone through that TA training exhausted and annoyed at the fact that I had to talk in class which is something I hate. I could have spent the whole time miserable, but why? Even when it was a little over the top we still had a good time, and learned a lot while enjoying ourselves. I guess I just want to write this down to remind myself to keep a good attitude. Life’s just way more fun when I’m willing to enjoy it, or find the good things in the piles of crap. In other news, I’ve been listening to country off and on for two days and it’s doing funny things to my head.

One Comment leave one →
  1. Anonymous permalink
    October 1, 2007 7:47 am

    the attitude one has and the ability to change one’s attitude to the circumstances to create joy is the difference between a good life and a life wasted. be positive. see the beauty and immerse your very being in the bountiful river of joy that your attitude mandates. life can be a river or a trickle of what could of been.
    happiness is a choice. Let it in…let your attitude define you. in the end…it’s the heart that really matters.

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