(DISCLAIMER: This blog is not an official Fulbright Program blog; the views expressed are my own and not those of the Fulbright Program, the U.S. Department of State or any of its partner organizations.)

Thursday, October 21, 2010

My First Day of School!

I've been gone from home six weeks, and today I am meeting my first class.  Everything I've done up to now is to prepare me for this moment.

I am teaching one graduate class in the Masters in Social Work program: a research methods course on Program Evaluation Research (teaching on my own).  I am co-teaching another course in the Masters in Criminal Justice Social Work, a Juvenile Delinquency course where I am teaching techniques of an evidence-based treatment approach for working with multi-problem youth and their families.  In addition, I am doing guest lectures in three other courses in the Master's programs in Social Economy (like our Social Entrepreneurship), Social Services Management, and Social Policy.
The courses meet every two weeks for four hours a pop, from 4:00 to 8:00, one on Thursday and the other on Friday.  The guest lectures are on Thursday, Friday and Saturday mornings in November, December and January. 
Most of the students work full-time, and everyone, from local professors to former Fulbrighters, tell me I have to make my expectations extremely clear.  Things I may take for granted in the US system, may be unusual here: like attendance, for example, or coming in late, or doing homework or readings, or taking a cell phone call during class, or texting during class, or participating in discussion (a joke here is about professors have lots of tongue and little brain).  I need to communicate my expectations, but I'll wait until they get to know me and what they can learn from me.  In order to do the experiential learning and applications that my teaching style prefers, I have to have a room full of students who are reasonably informed about what we are talking about.  Students seem to expect irrelevant long lectures; I need to surprise them with relevance and learner centered experiential activities.
So, my last minute class prep this morning includes baking chocolate chip cookies.  An instructional activity for learning about logic models is to take the steps of baking chocolate chip cookies and create a logic model (INPUTS, RESOURCES, ACTIONS, OUTCOMES). I wasn't sure Chocolate Chip Cookies were as common in this culture as in ours, most cookies I've encountered are in the prepackaged "food-like-substance" category, so Cami helped me to engineer a cultural exchange.  Yumm!
Other last minute preps are to print and copy handouts, and go over my lesson plan to make sure I haven't left anything out.  Teaching 4 hours every two weeks doesn't leave me much time to wing it!  We'll see how it goes (next post).

1 comment:

  1. Sounds so exciting! Loving learning about your experiences. Take care.