When I taught English in China, I wasn’t a very good teacher. I did it though. It was a good experience, doing something I knew I was bad at, trying to get better, but not really knowing how. Me blundering along through failure for a couple of years was great for everyone. Except my students. And my self-esteem. Erm.
The thing is that when I got back to Canada and especially when I started working at a library reference desk I realized I’m not too shabby at one-on-one/small group instruction, especially when everyone is speaking the same language. It was teaching people to talk I was terrible at. But I still didn’t have a good handle on how to teach better or how to develop a lesson plan or anything like that.
So for me, my hands-down most useful class in my MLIS has been LIBR535: The Instructional Role of the Information Professional. The past couple of weeks we’ve been doing our short lessons and with actual guidance on how to do this stuff (simple guidance like “plan your lesson backwards from its objectives” and “making people physically do stuff is good because…”) I felt really good about it. And man oh man does it ever help when you’re teaching something you find interesting.
My mini-lesson was geared for a public library comic-creation workshop. We spent 10 minutes going over some of the differences between distributing your comic as a zine or on the web. I violated a lot of copyright in making my handouts (though it was educational and very tiny snippets of what I did use) and had a good time performing my bounce-around, flailing armed shtick. I made a Prezi slideshow to back me up and keep me on track but really I felt like I could have done the whole thing without it. Harder to share online though. (This version of the Prezi was changed from class to use a comic I had permission to use.)
Anyway. When I go work at Prosentient I’m going to be teaching people things, and it’s kind of great to have had a good recent experience so my teaching memories aren’t all still from my doomed Oral English classes. Sorry for the Pollyannaishness of the post; it’s just nice when you really feel you got something out of a course rather than just a mark on a transcript.