Wednesday, June 28, 2006

absence makes the heart grow fonder

I miss teaching. I really do. By the end I was pulling out my hair and counting down the last minutes, but mostly due to the fact that the last 3 weeks are the most time-consuming. Teaching gave me a good steady routine for the week. There were places I had to be at a certain time. I couldn't blow off my students like I can blow off doing DNA preps. I have yet to see my evals, but at least on my end I felt that I really connected with my students. I miss seeing their faces every week, hearing their puzzled questions, listening to their stories. Teaching is a unique social interaction. For someone who normally feels awkward in social situations it was amazing how at home I felt in my classroom.

My research is plodding along. I have two separate projects and one may need a complete revamp. I'm hoping one apparent problem is just a complication we can work around. For the second project I'm still optimizing my experimental system, but the results are interesting thus far.

I haven't been blogging much. I realized this morning that part of my silence is because I always want to have something profound to say. That is a pretty lofty blogging goal. I may need to try writing drafts somehow while at work, since I don't like to blog directly from the lab.

Friday, June 16, 2006

new old routine

It's been a bit quiet around here. I'm trying to get back into the research groove. The days seem to draaaaaag on now that I'm not running in eight million directions for teaching. In a single day I can accomplish what I would get done in a week during teaching. Which is good, because the PI is strongly hinting that I did not get enough done during the teaching stint. So now I'm busting my ass double-time to try and compensate. I think the past two weeks have been very productive, so hopefully that will help.

I get bored with it all sometimes. I make a list of stuff To Do and all of it looks boring. The end results are nice, but the process makes me grind my teeth sometimes. Plus my PCR keeps throwing out weird results intermittantly so that I don't trust any of them. Controls work fine one day, and then the next the two of them are identical. Did I contaminate somehow? Who knows.

Saturday, June 10, 2006

wrapping up

The teaching is just about over. One last requirement to proctor the final exam and my obligations are complete. I churned through grading last weekend up through Tuesday and was happy with how quickly I finished up.

I really enjoyed teaching. My worst fears never did pan out. There was no mutiny and a surprising lack of apathy. I never wound up being a confidant, but I think I came close to being a friend. My evening class in particular was very chatty (while being productive) and I had a lot of fun with them.

I had a few token 'bad' students, but even they fell into the 'absent without excuses' category more than anything else. One of them I'm certain will fail the whole class.

Then there was the heartbreaking student, the one who tries with every fiber of their being and still fails. I willingly made special office hours for this one and worked with them through tricky concepts. The line between passing and failing is dangerously close despite both our efforts. Student confided that they will be changing majors away from something in the hard(er) sciences for a social science major. I think that's probably the best choice, but it saddens me to see one who is actually trying to learn slip through the cracks.

On a lighter note, on a whim I decided to look up some of my students on Facebook. I have a page but it's very bland. I'm glad I didn't try this experiment while I was still teaching! Nothing too scandalous, but I did find a few bikini shots of the girls and a few pictures involving beer-bongs and the like.

One of the sweetest things was the girl who always said "Thanks Honeybee!" at the end of every lab class. My students seemed to genuinely like me. It will be interesting to get the teaching evals back.

And, as promised...

Funny Things From Biology Papers:
1. "In a world of food chains, herbivory and predation transpire commonly."
2. "Caterpilars are human competitors for crop plants."
3. Gazing through the figures, we see..."
4. "This experiment was executed using the standard operating procedures..."
5. "We will discuss the mammals roll most of all as in this it serves a double roll."
6. "So that by the time the midget matures, the number of other insects will double but then be eradicated by the mature midgets."