Sunday, December 13, 2009

Best Teaching Moments of the Aughts

By popular demand (one person asked), here are my favorite teaching moments of the past decade:
  1. Allowing an undergrad to take my first graduate course at McGill.  I was hesitant because I didn't think he could handle it, but I was assured that he could.  He quickly demonstrated the potential of the students here, as he was able to handle the complex material and provided much added value to the discussions.  And, in return, he initiated a research project while my research assistant that landed us in one of the premier journals in the field (and destined to be among my most highly cited).
  2. If that was not enough, the first month or so of teaching the honors undergraduate seminar made it abundantly clear that teaching the undergrads at McGill was going to be a blast.  I got to teach that class a second time and enjoyed it greatly, but I have not had a chance to teach it again. 
  3. Supervising a graduate student whose dissertation was aimed squarely at me was a good time, not to mention that some of his co-authored work gave me the chance to engage in a published debate (and, yes, I think I got the better of it).
  4. At the end of my first time teaching the huge Intro to International Relations class at McGill (I had taught more than few times elsewhere), I received a standing ovation.  Yowza.  I blushed more than I had in a long, long time.
  5. At the end of that year, I won my first teaching award, from the undergrad Political Science Students Association.  Two years later, I won my second.  
  6. Stunned this fall with students asking consistently incredibly sharp questions in my big lecture class.
  7. Kangaroo milk.  I believe it is the first time in 1.5 decades of teaching that I lost it.  Laughing so hard, I could not breathe, eyes teared up.  I was speechless, which, if you know me, is a pretty rare event.
If anyone has some highlights that I have forgotten, well, grading causes brain damage, so remind me.

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