The fact that this blog is unable to satisfy, interest, or convince 100% of the people who read it reminds me in some ways of the experience of teaching a large class.
A major difference is that in the case of this blog, I don't care. In the case of teaching a large class, I always wish I could reach each student so that they will listen, understand, and be interested in science in general, and the specific course subject in particular.
There are so many variables in a large class at a big university, there is no way to succeed at this completely. In my last big class (hundreds of students), the number of students with their own or family illnesses/emergencies to deal with was considerable, and then there are the student-athletes who travel a lot, students with language difficulties, students with disabilities, students with complicated social lives, student not prepared to take a science class, students terrified of science, and so on. Being compassionate and (somewhat) flexible goes some way to helping these students, but there's only so much a science professor can do.
Even so, I like teaching the big classes, but am glad I don't do it every semester or even every year. This semester I will be teaching a mid-sized, intermediate-level course for science and engineering majors. Mostly this week I am working on updating the course content and thinking about trying a few new activities and different ways to explain/present things. That's the fun part of getting ready for a new semester.
9 months ago