This semester spent as an undergraduate Teaching Assistant through the CUTF has been an incredible learning experience. In fact, everything I have been learning came together when I was responsible for teaching a full class period (75 minutes) completely on my own. To say I was nervous was an understatement. While I have gotten to know the students and frequently participant in the class, there is something different about being the sole facilitator during a long discussion.
For this class, I discussed the political ramifications of the growing field of Artificial Intelligence. I explained and showed examples of machine learning, discussed the role of identity in AI, and broached topics like data and privacy. The hardest part of this experience was responding to the long silences I received when asking the entire class a discussion question. I learned for the future to let that silence sit a little longer, even if it is uncomfortable because eventually a student will answer.
Overall, receiving the Chancellor’s Undergraduate Teaching Fellowship allowed me to get the most out of my TA experience. These blogs have created a space for reflection that causes me to be a better TA for my professor and students. Looking forward, I hope to take the lessons I have learned and put them to good use after graduation. Next year, I will be teaching English or working in community outreach through AmeriCorps. Whichever I end up doing, my public speaking, intrapersonal, and teaching skills will be put to good use.
If you are considering applying for the CUTF, do it! Your undergraduate TA experience will be enhanced, and it will push you out of your comfort zone.
Until next time!