Monday, October 26, 2009

Pressure Builds (just to make it more fun!)

Wow. The closer we get to November, the more work I seem to have to do for all of my classes. As is probably the case with most classes, topics build throughout the semester in biology to continually present new "emergent" properties. For example, in a class like Introductory Biology we begin by discussing chemistry, then move on to interactions of molecules, then to components of cells, cell function and cell signaling, then genetic control of cell function and tissue formation, and… well it goes on quite a lot from there until we finally start talking about animal populations and ecosystems and even broader topics. Other Biology courses like Anatomy and Physiology and Marine Biology have similar tracks.

Well, we're deep into the material in all my classes and I watch carefully as my students teeter on the edge between understanding how everything they've learned to this point relates to the present topic and becoming hopelessly lost in a morass of new terminology and concepts. I really have to know the potential pitfalls in each lesson and stay alert to their expressions in class so that I know when to help them recall something from earlier in the semester (that might seem like years ago) or to keep pushing though material while helping them navigate the pitfalls of inane details while observing and synergizing the important concepts so they gain an overall understanding.

It's quite fun, really. But it does take a lot of preparation time and I'm feeling a pre-NaNo crunch already.

Man, am I looking forward to November and lots of sleepless nights!!!

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