QoM1

Question:
Do you have an interesting memory from your first TA session that you would like to share with us? it can be any memory that you find interesting and think that others will also find it an interesting read.

Now it is time to select the winner. Please send us an email (using your ucalgary account) on csgs@cpsc.ucalgary.ca and include the number of your preferred answer in the email. Do not forget to mention "QoM1" in your email. Note that you could vote for only one answer.

Answers:

1. In my first TA session which was the introductory programming course in Python (Fall 2010), I shared with my students a convenient online compiler that supports many programming languages including Python. In my last TA session which was a software engineering course (Winter 2012), there were many students of mine who took with me the Python course in 2010. In one setting when I was providing hands-on help to one of those students, we needed to compile a piece of code quickly so he opened the browser and visited the former website to compile the code and told me: "See Mohammad, I use this website which is an online compiler to compile code conveniently." I said: "That's good" but inside my self I said: "Don't carry coals to Newcastle".
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2. It was my first time using the blackboard of the UofC while teaching CPSC 203! I didn't attend the meeting of the TA of that course, and for my first 2 tutorials, I used to go to the blackboard, and teach the lecture materials specified in the instructor presentations! the next week, a student came to me asking: why are we covering different things than the other labs cover?!!!!!!!!!!! I was shocked ! then went immediately to the instructor to discover that I was teaching what he teaches to them instead of the lab material!!! It was horrible experience ! fortunately, I could recap, but I had negative feedback from the students saying that I went fast through the material!!

Reasons for the problem:
Not attending the course TA meetings, and not reading the meeting minutes properly!! Now, I read everything sent from the TA coordinator twice :))
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3. I guess Asians really look young!
In my first session, students were just entering the room while I was standing near the board. One student came a little later than others and looked relieved when he entered the room. I think he presumed that they would get a free class because he asked me if the TA had arrived yet. He was stunned when I told him I was it. I thought this was a fluke but this happened to me in 3/4 classes I TA'd in. I guess Asians really do look young!
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4. Nothing amazing, just an observation...
I walked into my first TA class and nearly all of the students lacked an IT account (first year class). I was running around trying to help them get one. I then set up a few terminals for them to create their accounts and that was taking too long. Finally, I just signed into every computer using my account. I made up my mind that I would sign every computer in for my next tutorial (the following hour with different students). When the next hour rolled around, only three people lacked IT accounts and they got them very quickly. That was my first realization that different classes, even in the same course, can really have a different feel or personality. The same strategies for teaching, problem solving, etc may not work or even be necessary as you go from class to class
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5. 'C'mon, Keep talking! Keep talking!'
In my first tutorial, I was a bit nervous. I finished my lecture very soon and then I walked back and forth in the classroom, waiting for their questions. Somehow these students newly graduated from high-school seemed a little uncomfortable when I was around.
I noticed two of the boys sitting together in the back rows were talking very heatedly about computer games. But when I walked by, one of them noticed my coming and stop their conversation immediately. They both looked at me in silence.
"Oh, come on! Do I look very scary? Keep talking! Keep talking! I like noises!"
After hearing this, they grinned and went on their conversation. The rest of the class was soon filled with such sounds.
I was glad to see that. It made me feel like I was a cool TA.