Life as a Biology UTAFebruary 15th, 2012
Though I’ve been a student for countless years, I’ve never been on the other side of it. I still remember almost every single teacher I’ve ever had, even going back to elementary school. I can say that I’ve been very blessed to have excellent teachers (and professors) in every stage of my life.
This semester, I finally have a chance to see what it’s like to be in the “instructor” role. For Dr. Al Ruesink’s Biological Mechanisms course, I am working as an Undergraduate Teaching Assistant (also known as a UTA). When I took the course two years ago, I was very impressed with the UTAs that I got to know well.
Once a week, each UTA leads a Learning Group, in which the students of the course are able to build upon subject matter learned in lecture and develop a better understanding in general. I’ve really enjoyed working with the students in my Learning Group this year. Even though 50 minutes isn’t very long, I’ve been able to make my own lesson plan each week – which, of course, goes along with the material covered in lecture.
Being a UTA has been an eye-opening experience for me. I’ve always appreciated my instructors, but now I’ve had the opportunity to see what it’s like to be in that position.
After a very storied career here at Indiana University, Dr. Ruesink is retiring this year. Dr. Ruesink has so many stories, such as knowing Dr. Watson, himself, and attending his Nobel Prize after-party, and is one of the nicest people that I’ve met here at Indiana University.
I hope to continue working as a teaching assistant, possibly in other courses, maybe in other departments – but also maybe in the same course. It’s been a rewarding experience for me, and I look forward to similar teaching experiences in the future.