Over the past semester, I have learned a great many things about teaching. Most importantly that it is extremely stressful. Simply speaking in front of a crowd of faces, only a few of which I can confidently say that I know, is quite nerve racking. This semester was made significantly easier by the fact that all of my interactions were done over zoom, but that didn’t lower the amount of preparation I did for them or the stress I felt before standing up. Despite the intense pressure leading up to the few times I spoke over the semester, I am very glad that I received the opportunity to do them. I learned a lot about the amount of effort that goes into the lectures and classes that I take for granted.
In addition to speaking preparation, I learned a lot about student and teacher dynamics. It was interesting to see how different students addressed me and spoke to me in comparison to how they spoke to Professor Hong and the graduate teaching assistant of the course. I was also fascinated in how some students put very little effort into submitting their homework online when they clearly put so much effort into doing the homework. I was extremely disappointed every time I saw several pages of blurry photos and poor lighting which made the homework or lab assignment virtually ungradable. Since I started working as an undergraduate teaching assistant, I have put significantly more effort into my online submissions in my own classes.
Over the past semester, I have gotten to know my mentor, Dr. Tae Min Hong, very well. He and I have had a number of fascinating discussions about the project and general side chatter. Due to this mutual respect and the knowledge, I have displayed on the subject, I have been invited to join Professor Hong’s research team over the summer. I am excited to work with him and his team and hopefully to continue this strong relationship in the future. I greatly enjoyed being a teaching assistant this semester, so I am also looking into becoming a teaching assistant again in the future. I am considering looking into the math department or maybe a different physics class. There is also the off chance that Professor Hong invites me to return to PHYS 0476 for the third time. No matter what happens, I am extremely thankful for the experiences I have had this semester, and I will carry these memories for many years to come.