Today was my first stint being in charge. I like some parts of it, but I think I’m expected to check up on the labs (I stopped in twice for each one). That, coupled with teaching on Thursday afternoons, kills any kind of activity.

My boss is busy, so I run the lab setups for the intro, non-physics major classes. Since we all get along fairly well, it’s hard to keep people on task. I learned also everyone has different understanding of electronics, so some people are currently better at it. I’m trying to get everyone caught up. Electronics are not easy. With most of the labs they’ve had, there really is only one way to do them. Electronics can be wired differently, so student A’s circuit can technically produce the same results as student B’s, even if they are wired differently.

I think the TAs are somewhat happy with my leadership (I hope!). I helped change our grading, to make it clearer for the students and easier for the grads. I don’t think everyone is thrilled with me showing up occasionally, but I hope that they realize I’m not being distrustful or spying. If things go awry, obviously I will say something, but I can also say something nice if I witness good behavior :). It’s easier for me to tell my boss that everything is great if I can see that it is. If I see potential problems, I can also say something to everyone. Since we don’t get much training on teaching before we’re thrown out into the wild, I think it’s somewhat helpful if I can help everyone. I personally felt intimidated by teaching labs; I freaked that I wouldn’t know anything, that students woudl hate me, and that it would be a complete disaster caused solely by me. I wasn’t great when I began, but things became better when I learned little tricks and methods and my confidence grew. Although some of it people simply have to figure out on their own, I want to give the newer TAs help that I didn’t really have.

I hope our new system works out. I also hope that I can maintain healthy relations with my classmates. I’m not going to throw them under a bus, but I also don’t have a problem telling them where they went wrong or (God forbid) letting our boss know where they went wrong. I hope it never comes to that.