Posted by: CJ | March 19, 2009

They’re so frustratingly independent…

I think I’m getting more of a handle on one of my several issues with teaching. Yes, I wish the material was structured better, that it wasn’t so rote, and that problems were more interesting. We all wish that. But in addition to all those complaints, I get really annoyed at the lack of control over students I have. What I mean is that the students choices contribute far more to their success or failure in the course than my choices. That doesn’t mean I shouldn’t try to be as good a TA as possible, but merely that I can’t force the students to learn.

This bothers me. I like having some degree of control over what I’m doing. If I’m doing research or working on a problem set then I have total control over the outcome. The outcome might not be what I would like, but it’s usually because I was not hardworking or clever enough.

With as many other opportunities and ways to use a graduate education in science, I keep wondering why would I want to spend my life dealing with situations where I don’t even have the illusion of control, much less actual control?


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