Last term the Philosopher was a teaching assistant in a first year Logic class. He did so well that this term they assigned him his own tutorial with two first year students. While he lay on the couch, spent at the end of the day, I whipped out my pen and paper for an interview/therapy session. I thought you might be interested. After all, one day this guy is gonna be a star. You can say you knew him back when he taught his very first class.
How did it feel to assign reading to your very first pupils, in three adjectives?
Empowering, satisfying, tedious
What was the look on their faces when you walked in the classroom door?
Well when I walked in they weren’t there. But when they walked in, they had a look of…I’d say anticipation mixed with caution mixed with fear.
What were you wearing?
Levis Jeans, blue shirt from my wife, fleece also from wife that hugs midsection, brand new black shoes and black socks
Would you say that your outfit contributed to the looks on their faces?
Can’t rule it out.
What strategy did you take into the classroom?
I really wanted to start by building rapport/trust with the kids.
How did you achieve that aim?
I tried to make a couple of lighthearted comments that could be loosely described as jokes.
Can you remember any of them?
I pointed out that we had our own toilet in the other room. And then I told them that if they wanted we could move our meeting back an hour so they could have lunch between classes.
That’s not a joke.
How did they respond to your strategy of building rapport trust?
They didn’t really respond to my attempt at humor, if that’s what you’re after. But one of them opened up and told me he had archery practice afterwards, so I feel I’m building up a flow with them.
How was the discussion?
It mostly involved me pointing out things in their papers and trying to get them to explain what they meant at certain places and spots. At this point I launched into a long monologue explaining why what they were saying was wrong or confused.
How did they respond to that?
They took a lot of notes.
So what percentage of the time were you talking vs them talking?
They talked 25% of the time.
Is that an appropriate ratio?
I feel like I want them to talk more next time.
Do you prefer teaching in a classroom or tutorial setting?
Probably the more the merrier. But I prefer to teach a class than to give a lecture. I felt like it went pretty well, actually, but because I think I’m a natural teacher i.e. I have a great desire to articulate myself well and be understood, and because I enjoy the material, I couldn’t help but run over in my head afterwards what I could have said differently. I think, I hope, they left feeling they now know more about Philosophy of Mind. Yeah. I think they probably did learn some new things. They probably learned, if they didn’t know already, that philosophy is really hard!
Well folks, you heard it from the horse’s mouth. Philosophy is really hard!
After the interview, we warmed our feet by a friend’s fire. It was a good night.