I had my first day of teaching today. I was not too nervous before the class because all I had to do was to go through the syllabus with students, and let them introduce themselves to the class. Plus, I was busy fighting with my last-minute report which was due today last night. So I did not really have the time or energy to worry about my first day of teaching.

But when the class really started, I was actually very nervous. I felt like sitting on the free-fall that I would throw my stomach up any time. I could hear my voice tremble when I said good morning to my 9 am class.But out of my expectation, the students were quite friendly. They laughed when I told them I liked to work out although I was not good at it (??? what's so funny about this?). And they smiled when I told them I liked animals (hm...not sure why). And they responded when I asked them if they had any questions. Before the class, our lab tech, who was an undergrad in U of M, warned me how bad the students could be. So, I went into the class expecting to see students falling asleep and not caring about what I said. But surprisingly, they all looked like good kids...hm..at least for today.

The class at 12pm was a bit of a nightmare. Students looked tired and hungry. I guess I should have let them stand up to introduce themselves before I actually talked about the boring syllabus. But generally speaking, like the first class, they were very friendly. They paid attention, they smiled, they looked like good kids.

My third class started at 1pm. Before the class, I thought I would get a class of devils that wanted to get out as soon as possible. I mean I was once young. I still clearly remember how difficult it was not to skip the Friday physiology class or to stay focused on Friday afternoon. But what happened was completely the opposite. I am not sure if it was because I made them do the introduction first, or because that was my third class already, this class turned out to be the best class I had. They laughed, they smiled, they had good interaction with me and other classmates, and they were all very focused. At the end of the class, several students actually said "thank you" or "thanks for the class" to me. Ouch, as a tiny little GSI (graduate student instructor) who had never taught before, those words easily won my heart. The students suddenly all looked like angels to me.

To be honest, as a GSI, I am not expecting my students to all love me or to like every thing I teach. All I hope is that they will learn SOMETHING and have some fun from my class. That something can even be the conclusion that they will never want to do neuroscience in their lives. When I asked them to introduce themselves to the class, so many of them gave an embarrassing smile and said, " I guess it is idiotic. But I am a junior and I still do not know what I want to do." They reminded me so much of my own struggle as a college student. So, I told them not to worry about it. Me and my friends were once like that. But if they keep trying, they will get closer and closer to what they like ( haha, actually this still applies to me now! who knows what I am going to do in the future!!!). And it is ok if they find themselves not liking biopsych. at the end of the class because we all are trying to figure out what we like or dislike. What I did not tell them was that all I hope to do, as a GSI, was to be able to offer some help.

That's the end of my first day of teaching. I believe all my students are good students, or they would not be in this school. They may get lazy, bored, or absent-minded sometimes (I have been there and done that!) But I still think we will have a good time in class!


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