Friday, August 27, 2004

Tea, eh?

I belong to one of the few biomed research programs at Vandy where a teaching assistant position is required for at least one semester. And this, friends, is my semester.

While I was in DC, I received an email asking me to TA a class that is pretty broad in subject matter, but I've never taken it before. However, it was pitched to me as "If you want to be a science writer, you should be versatile, etc." which I happen to agree with. So, it works.

Am I actually lecturing though? Nope. I'm more Aing than Ting. My main role is to help students (mostly folks who are beginning their second year of grad school) with their presentations of journal articles.
I also have to attend class. I haven't taken a class in two years, with the exception of the (afternoon) science communications class I unofficially audited. Not only that, but the class is at 9AM. I really have to be alert by nine! Consistently!
Additionally I'm doing a whole bunch of miscellany. Our classes are never taught by just one prof. but rather there's a new topic and a new teacher each week. So, I'm the semi-authoritative person who will be a consistent face at every class, bringing handouts in, and performing random damage control.

Damage control example:
Today in class, a very loud beeping noise would come on periodically. Finally the professor said, "Does someone have their phone on? What's going on?"
I then noticed he had his pager on and said, "Maybe it's your pager?"

Ta-da! The pager's batteries were going dead and it was screaming for help. I took the pager from the lecturer and removed the battery. There you go. TA Nicole to the rescue.


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