[Editor's Note: This is an anonymous grad student fumble! Other grads, send us your fumbles -- I, too, was once a grad student, and fumbled frequently (once unintentionally obscenely, even). Asa]
I taught for the first time ever as a teaching assistant last year for a medieval literature survey class. I was teaching the students about Jean Froissart’s Chronicles and the 1381 Peasant’s Revolt. I had prepared by designing a lecture on the Peasant’s Revolt and had a handout outlining the main points of the revolt for the students. I got through the rundown of what the Peasant’s Revolt was just fine, and passed out a decent handout. Where I failed was in capably leading the discussion. I showed them a passage from the John Ball letters on the projection screen, and that’s when it started going downhill. For one thing, I didn’t take them through the passage, and attempted to jump straight into discussion--rookie mistake. I floundered through leading the discussion, and my (amazing) professor who I was TAing for jumped in to help direct the conversation, and we ended up co-teaching the class. Thankfully, my students gave me a break and were very enthusiastic and participatory during that particular class. I’m happy to say that my most recent teaching experiences have been much better- you live and learn I suppose!