Ten important things I learned about teaching (Part II)

Continued from last week, here is the rest of my “top ten” list of lessons learned during my first teaching experience. 6. For goodness’ sake, be yourself. One bit of advice I got before starting this class was that I should dress up – you know, wear a pantsuit or something – to establish an air of authority. I was told that I should embody a stern/serious demeanor to garner respect, especially because I am…

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Ten important things I learned about teaching (Part I)

The grades are in, and as promised I’m going to take some time to talk about my experiences as a first-time teacher.   Long story short: it was super-challenging and I loved it. Where the magic happened… I put together a list of ten important things I learned this term; I hope others find these useful, and I welcome any feedback or comments! 1. No matter how confident you are, when you’re given your first class…

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The finish line is in sight

Clawing my way to the finish line! (Alternatively titled, “Excuse to post a picture of a mole cricket, which is an awesome animal, period.”) Fifteen centimeters of snow fell yesterday, we’ve burned through nearly our entire cache of firewood, and there’s not a hint of green life to be found. Nevertheless, it’s just past the first day of spring, and a startlingly short 3 weeks until the last day of classes. I swear I have…

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Taking the plunge: first-time teacher trolling for tips!

A really incredible chance to try something new and exciting arose this fall. After the logistics and paperwork were sorted, and I officially decided to take the plunge I (rather giddily) made this announcement on Twitter: I’m taking on a third-year Population and Community Ecology class this winter. It’s a lecture-based course with a hearty focus on quantitative approaches, and I’ll have about 100 students (eek!) with very diverse scholastic backgrounds and strengths. Those of…

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Where and Whither the Monarch?

One phenomenon I can usually count on every late summer/autumn is a sudden swelling appearance of Monarch butterflies as they begin to make their long migratory journey southward for the winter.  During the summer, I see them flitting about in my garden, and spot the caterpillars munching away on their wild host plants (milkweed). Male Monarch butterfly in my garden in September 2011. This summer, though…nada.  Nothing. Zip. Honestly, I didn’t see a single caterpillar,…

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WiFi in the woods: new article on mobile technology and inquiry-based learning

For the past four years I’ve had the great pleasure of TAing a course run by Chris Buddle, called St. Lawrence Ecosystems. SLE is an undergraduate, field-based ecology class with a strong emphasis on experiential learning. Last year, students were tasked with designing a research project – start to finish – that they could execute in the arboretum on our campus. They could pick any plant or animal they wished to study, had to come…

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Grad school is hard: you’re not alone.

I’m back home and settled in after a wonderful ESC annual meeting. From photography, social media and teaching workshops, to stellar talks, to prizes won by friends and labmates – it was really a fantastic conference.  If you want to see some excellent photos of the event, Sean McCann posted a great roundup of some of the week’s highlights. One of the most memorable moments for me was actually during Sean’s great Student Showcase talk on wasp-specializing Caracaras,…

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Close encounters at the ESC JAM photography workshop

This weekend marks the start of the 150th annual meeting of the Entomological Society of Canada! I arrived in Guelph, Ontario, late last night and have an awesome week of science, networking and catching up with colleagues ahead of me!  :D The conference started off with a fantastic workshop: insect macrophotography with none other than Alex Wild! As a BugShot alumnus twice over,  I was mostly there as a helper bee, but I managed to find a few moments…

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Learning the importance of listening: sexism and harassment in science

No adorable caterpillar photographs today, I’m afraid. We’ve got more important things to discuss. If you are involved in the online science community at all (and I assume you are, since you’re reading this), then you know that in the past couple of days some distressing stories have emerged regarding sexism and harassment. If you don’t know what I’m talking about, then please take a moment to read this: Give Trouble to Others But Not…

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Party hats on, please!

It’s my birthday! I’m 34. Thirty. Four.  (And still in school, lulz!) This fun-loving fella is helping me celebrate by wearing his party hat today! :D Harris’ Three-Spot (Harrisimemna trisignata) Seriously, is that not one wild outfit? The Harris’ Three-Spot caterpillar is a crazy-looking critter.  What I first mistook for a discoloured leaf,  closer inspection revealed to be a caterpillar. Then I thought it was a diseased caterpillar, though, because its shape was all gnarly…

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