The Waiting Room

This could take a while...

Tuesday, September 15, 2009


Posted by Seeking Solace |

I spent yesterday on the couch, battling some sort of stomach bug. I had to cancel the interview with the law firm, which turns out, would have been canceled anyway because the interviewer has the same bug I do! I am feeling much better today. I am going to wait to reschedule the law interview until after the teaching demo for the faculty position. That interview is tomorrow.

The Academic Dean sent me the syllabi for the courses. I decided that I am going to teach one of the lectures from my Business Law course. I wouldn't have to re-invent the wheel...

Or, so I thought.

I started to review my lecture notes and started wondering if I needed to add some additional information. The college's syllabus lists the course out comes and objectives, but they are general, almost vague. That got my brain working overtime. I started thinking that maybe what I teach undergraduate business students is not enough for paralegals. I mean, I am concerned that perhaps I need to be more specific and detailed with the legal concepts. I started going more in depth into the minutia of negligence theory. Then, I started thinking that what I was adding was more geared to the first year law student.


I get the reason for doing the demo. I think it's a good idea. There are some out there who just throw up a bunch of Power Point slides and teach from the slides. I could probably train the Boy to do that, except he lacks thumbs. There are some instructors who like Ben Stein in Ferris Bueller. So, I get why it is necessary.

I have a tenancy to over prepare. I blame this on my history of anxiety. I also blame it on my training as a trial lawyer. Be prepared for every conceivable arguement or situation. You may not win, but you won't get caught with your pants down. The end result is my walking around in a state of dog-like readiness (The Boy is as quick as some cats! There's a certain rabbit back in Lake Effect Snow Central who is missing part of his tail who can testify!). Former College and Private College did not ask me to do a teaching demo when I interviewed for the job. They assumed I was competent and just cut me loose in the classroom. Granted, I've had teaching evaluations by the department chairs, which resulted with the reviewer giving me high praise for my teaching.

I had mentioned to another blogger about allowing the feelings of anxiety or nervousness to just be what they are. Instead of analyzing or focusing on the whys, I should just remind myself that I have taught this stuff for the past six years. Honestly, I could teach it in my sleep. I have to trust that I am good enough and I have the feedback to prove it. I just need to go in there and do what I do best. Just go in there and do it.

Overkill is not needed.


Rebecca said...

And don't forget that you previously mentioned thinking they were looking for someone who could fully engage the interest of the class. If you try to cram too much into the demo, your unique advantage of creative teaching style might not be as obvious.

It sounds like you've chosen one of your favorite topics to teach. If you teach it the way you normally do, you will feel most comfortable, and I don't think they will doubt your ability to notch it up or water it down as necessary. In fact, there is probably no harm in just mentioning your willingness and ability to do just that.

TiredProf said...

I understand both the anxiety and the overkill, but it sounds as if you're well-prepared and thinking about all of the right things. I hope it goes well for you!

AliceAcademic said...

Sorry to hear about the stomach bug. I hope you are feeling better. Best wishes on the interviews. You are going to do great!

Inside the Philosophy Factory said...

I've been on the receiving end of more than a few teaching demonstrations.. so let me give you a bit of perspective...

1) Make sure you are teaching what they want you to teach -- sounds simple, but it's more complex than you'd think. You have the right idea about making sure the material hits the right spot -- also make sure your material doesn't wander into a new topic.

2) Stay focused -- which probably won't be a problem for you. Be aware that your nerves may make you say more than you should or go on tangents.

3) Engage the committee like they were students. Before the demonstration tell the committee that you're going to do so -- then do at least a bit of your teaching demo in which you are interacting with the "students". It also helps if you position the demo within the class -- you should be able to do this before your time starts.

4) Make sure you pick a subject you can teach in the time allotted... and watch your time allocation within the demo. This tells a committee that you'll be able to stick to a syllabus.

I think the best teaching demo I've ever seen was focused around a beautiful sculpture that the instructor brought in -- to demo a philosophy concept -- the way he spoke to us, not at us -- and the way he used the object to center his demo was impressive... and he's now a colleague.

Good luck!