Demorialized about teaching the the University level
February 27, 2014 12:12 PM Subscribe
I feel like I am teaching to the lowest common denominator... What to do?
posted by anonymous to Education (26 answers total) 16 users marked this as a favorite
I am teaching a course to over a hundred students in a technical field at a large, public, US university. The profile of the students is mostly freshman/sophomore undergraduates, non-majors. The students are mostly "traditional" -- late teens, full time.
At this point, I am getting somewhat demoralized. The course comes with a laboratory period that gives me the opportunity to observe some of the students more closely. What usually happens is I spend the most time with students struggling with very basic things. Then I spend class periods trying to address some of the issues I've seen, but I can't help but think I am teaching to the lowest common denominator.
I am starting to become jaded, wondering whether some of the students I teach have any work/reading habits at all, and whether anything I do in the course matters. I can't help but think along the lines of "This is University... If you don't have study habits to figure some of this stuff out, I don't really care...", but then also "Am I really ineffective?" and "I don't want to turn students away who don't have background/confidence in the field, but can be still good and conscientious students". One of my brighter students recently quietly dropped out of the course.
Needless to say I don't have a lot of experience teaching, but I have taught this class before and have gotten solid, though unremarkable evaluations (along the lines of helpful and clear, but needs more enthusiasm).
A straightforward answer to the question in the title is perhaps "Don't"... What I am looking for is for people to share their experiences in similar environments, tell me whether they experienced similar feelings, and what has helped them in their teaching experience. Any thoughts?