Rookie Season Redux

Today was the last day of classes at Hunter thus ending my first semester of teaching at Hunter College.

I very much enjoyed the semester and my class and look forward to working with the same group when the spring term starts in a few weeks.

At the same time, even though I'm a quarter century veteran teacher, in many ways this was like my rookie season all over again.

My class was an honors intro class so the material wasn't new to me but there were a number of adjustments going from high school to college.

I taught a few college classes as an adjunct back in the nineties but I was a young teacher at the time and that was a lifetime ago.

The biggest difference is that we only met two days a week. Monday and Thursday and we met for 1:45 rather than 45 minutes. The longer class is nice but the twice a week means that you don't get that every day reinforcement you have in high school.

It also means that there were times when we would go a week between classes due to a single day off.

The biggest challenge, one that I'm continuing to work on, is figuring out how much we can do in a class, what and how much to assign between classes and what's the best way to motivate the student's to space out the work while doing something every day.

That wasn't much of a challenge at Stuy. Having been there so long, I had a good feel for my students as well as the pace and rhythm of Stuy. Hunter has it's own rhythm and pace and I'm still figuring it out.

We also had to pivot early on as the student laptops didn't arrive until a third of the semester was over.

On the other hand, much of my work these days has to do with developing the overall honors program as well as Hunter's forthcoming teacher education programs in CS so I'm only teaching a single class right now and it's small.

If there are any rookie teachers reading this, congratulations on getting through your first semester. I know you guys go a little bit longer, but you're in the home stretch.

Teaching right, particularly in public schools with large classes will always be an all in activity - certainly harder and more draining than anything I ever did in industry but it does get easier as you learn your school and students and develop your craft.