Like a runner’s high…with less running and more clicking


Today was my second session with Pre-Entry Study Skill students.  I “performed” last week with for the Business, Leadership & Enterprise students, and today with the Applied Social Science students.  In order to psych myself up, I decided to listen to Shiny Toy Guns’ “Waiting Alone.”  I know that doesn’t exactly compute, but it relaxed me and helped me focus.  Maybe I should make it a habit?

I took a slight diversion for these sessions, especially after reviewing my observation comments from my course mentor about the material I was covering in my session.  I shaved an almost 30-slide presentation down to 5 and spent the majority of time demonstrating the things I was saying “live,” a tactic, if you will, I employed for my previous session.

I felt very free during these sessions, following a loose format and structure.  However, it was frustrating, as always when the students refused to offer any of their own issue, problems, frustrations with using libraries and searching for information.  Apparently they are all super stars when it comes to using library and information systems, so I probably won’t be seeing any of them for follow-up sessions in the future…  I could absolutely commiserate though- it’s difficult to think of a question when prompted- especially when you are trying to learn the material at the same time.  I suppose that is one of the main objectives when employing the “flipping the classroom” technique.  Your students are not learning anything new during the session, but instead, everyone is reflecting and discussing what they have already reviewed.  Obviously, that was not possible for this session, but it did give me a better insight to what lecturers go through.

I did try something new with these sessions that, in my head, was a great concept, just hard to illustrate.  I started thinking about the problems students often have understanding what the difference s are between databases, journals, subscriptions, collections, etc. and tried to think of a metaphor or analogy.  The only idea that I came up with was trying to liken databases to iTunes, Journals to music albums, and songs to journal articles.  At the time, it felt like an obvious match- so I got to work putting my slides together to illustrate the point.  By the time I used the slides for both sessions, I was feeling confident that it would automatically click with the students and they would have a much better understanding about the resources we have to offer them.  That was not exactly the case though.  In almost comedic fashion, after I proposed my iTunes/database explanation, there wasn’t even a single head nod of understanding…in fact, it’s possible I further confused them.  I’m not going to give up though- maybe I just need to figure out how to better explain what I’m trying to say.

Either way, after both sessions, I was walking around, head spinning with thoughts about the session, the possible impact, whether or not the students would contact me further…as though I were on some kind of runner’s high.  I started to think about how I always feel this way after a big group session- I just want to tell everyone about the session, what I did, etc.  I’m not sure why and I don’t know how long the feeling will last.  If anything, it reminds me that I enjoy doing my job and that I’ve always got room to learn, experience and reflect.


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