Tuesday, March 23, 2010

TA'ing

Sorry for taking such a long hiatus here folks, sometimes the hectic life of a PHD student just gets in the way of things I actually want to do, like update this blog.

Recently I have been devoting a lot of time to my TAing job. I am the TA for epidemiology 712, which could also be called intermediate epidemiology. As unimpressive as that class sounds, I assure you TAing it can be quite challenging. This is because epidemiology is one of those subjects where the difficulty of the subject matter does not increase as a gentle slope, but rather as a sine wave from zero to 110 degrees (AKA, quite steeply, followed by a plateau). For some reason, intermediate epidemiology is the hardest class that most epidemiology majors take at the masters level, despite the fact that they are required to take advanced epidemiology (advanced epi would be the plateau part of my analogy above). I think this is because Epi712 teaches you all the theory needed to design and conduct an epidemiology study, and once you have that down, the rest is window dressing. Since the class can be tricky, I have spent a lot of time in the last few weeks giving extra help to struggling students. Luckily, I continue to enjoy teaching, so despite the fact that it has been a bit of a time drain, at least I have been having a good time. Additionally, because I am so involved in the class (giving the occasional lecture, hosting problems sessions, creating the homework) I have gotten lots of experience that will be useful when I begin teaching classes as a professor.

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