At 1:00pm tomorrow, I officially start my new job. (Why 1pm? My boss has to proctor an exam in the morning. Anyway.) I’ll be co-directing a lecture course, plus working on a large research project at PDU (Post-Doc University).
I’m excited to really get down in the trenches and be busy and productive after the rather odd fits and starts and long periods of boredom of my dissertation editing process. I’m also getting nervous. I am now, like, in charge of people. Our course has TAs, all of whom are older than I am, and at least one of whom has significantly more teaching experience than I do (she’s an adjunct who has taught her own courses for years). Also, I’ll be the equivalent of middle-management on our research project, which might involve yelling at people who aren’t holding up their end of the load.
The idea of being in charge of something (OK, co-in-charge) is odd to me after so many years of being the lowest woman on the totem pole. I can’t shake the feeling that PDU must be, in some sense, kidding with this whole thing. You want me to tell people what to do? You’re actually trusting me to be buck-stops-here gal?* What are you people smoking?
Also, while Googling my course co-director to find out his office number for our syllabus, I came across his Rate My Professors page. Students love him. He’s apparently a fantastic, entertaining lecturer, and suddenly I’m feeling insecure about my half of the lectures. I’m a decent public speaker, but I tend to talk way too fast (working on it), and my personality is low-key and quirky-intellectual rather than bombastic and funny. After hearing both of us give lectures, I’m pretty sure the students will feel a twinge of disappointment when they see me stand up in front of the class. But I think it would be worse to be phony, to try to force being funny or hip — I had some profs like that in college and it was always excruciatingly uncomfortable to watch them try that hard to be cool.
Does anyone have teacher-type advice — either from the teacher’s perspective, or from the student’s perspective?
* I’ve been re-watching a lot of Buffy lately.