Sunday, 7 February 2010

Things I Learned From My Students #3: Special Pre-Grading Edition

It's time for official grading and internal inspections. Which means I'm getting assessed on the quality of my teaching. Eeeeek!! So here's a mid-term edition of TILFMS:
  1. Once you use a "That's what she said" joke in front of your adult students, they will sprinkle each biology class with a liberal serving of the same joke.
  2. You will actually find that even the topic of tropisms in plants can be made more interesting with a "That's what she said" response from a student.
  3. Even grown-up students like to do silly experiments growing broad beans in glass beakers.
  4. Nothing gets a kid interested in chemistry quite like turning a liquid phenolphthalein pink.
  5. Students sometimes need to dress up in a lab coat and goggles to feel like real scientists.
  6. PowerPoint can be used to make multiple choice quizzes and it looks amazing!
  7. The word "pussy" is rude and must be asterisked to "pu***", yet "dick", "tits" and "ass" are all perfectly acceptable labels for diagrams showing male and femal sexual characteristics.
  8. The poor darlings have never heard of the word "vulva", but have heard of a Volvo.
  9. Sometimes a badly-behaved class is much more fun to teach than a well-behaved quiet group.
  10. Having a student assert that the male cancer cell she is examining under a microscope is from "ballsack cancer" doesn't actually affect how an observer thinks the lesson went.
  11. Students who speak English as a second language really like simple, clean jokes, e.g. "What do you call a fish with no eyes?" "A fsh." It helps that they were learning about follicle-stimulating hormone at the time.
  12. The increase in admin and paperwork sometimes makes the job less fun, but the contact time with those kids balances it out and then some.
  13. Mimosa pudica plants are amazing.
  14. If you avoid scrolling down to the comments, YouTube has a phenomenal range of teaching resources.
  15. Some of my students have incredible talents in non-scientific areas such as art and music, and I really must make use of this in class.


  1. Poor undergrads get younger every year. I look forward to your post-grading edition. Be careful with the teeth-gnashing: they can break.

  2. Ooh ooh ooh!!! I have a Mimosa pudica! Her name is Bob and she gets eaten, periodically, by my cat.

  3. I'll admit it. I love dropping phenolpthalene into a liquid and watching the liquid turn bright pink.


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