Last Friday, the semester really started for me, I started to teach. I’m currently teaching two of the eight lab sections for the genetics class, like most semesters since I started grad school at Northeastern. Most graduate students at Northeastern are teaching every fall and spring semester as the principal task for our Teaching Assistantship (TA) and hence our monthly salaries. (Summer funding is a very different story for another day). By now, the only real downside to teaching is the grading. The weekly quizzes, assignments and especially the big lab reports towards the end of the semester can be quite time-consuming. Apart from that, I really enjoy teaching and by now I know this course very well, need little time to prepare and am comfortable in front of a classroom full of students. That was quite different when I first started teaching, one week after starting grad school and moving to the US. Having never attended school here, I had little clue about the climate in classrooms, the relationship between student and TAs and was nervous about teaching in english. Fortunately, I had a fairly smooth start and all went well. With time, I became more and more confident, started to relax and make jokes. Teaching also helped me to understand certain concepts and details better myself and I learned how to explain complex contexts to educated non-experts, so I am really learning with my students.


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