It’s been a while since I’ve made my last blog post, hasn’t it? Now that it’s winter break, I have time to tell you a bit about one of the most rewarding things I’ve done this past semester: being an SI leader.
For those of you who don’t know, Supplemental Instruction (or SI) is a program offered by the Dornsife College of Letters, Arts, and Sciences where students in introductory math and science courses can get extra help in the form of small group sessions led by an undergrad who’s taken the class before. I was hired as an SI leader for CHEM 105b, off-track introductory chemistry. As you might know, I want to pursue a career in teaching, so SI is a very appropriate job for me.
As an SI leader, I attend classes with the other students and write my own worksheets as supplemental material to the lectures. Four times a week I hold sessions where students can come do problems and ask me questions about the material. Before their exams, I write an extended worksheet and have a super long session on the Sunday before the exam.
I’ve quickly discovered that writing problems is as hard if not harder than actually doing problems! You have to make sure that everything works out and makes sense and is actually interesting… It’s like taking another class all together. Many a night I’ve stayed up until ungodly hours to finish a sheet or a review. This is generally my fault though, since I’m kind of lazy :D
But despite all the work, my job is actually really fun. I’ve developed a fun relationship with some of my students, especially because I shared a class with many of them. I like to tell jokes and share stories about football (sigh… let’s not talk about football).
It’s obvious I’m not a TA or anything like that; I’m just a fellow undergrad. One of my students once told me I reminded him of his good friend with my sarcastic sense of humor, to which I replied “Sarcastic? Me? Really?”
I’ve been offered free food and have given out cookies to my students (and was promptly accused of stealing from a bake sale). The day before a review, I ran into a bunch of my students at the USC/Oregon game, and I confided in them that I hadn’t started making the review sheet… Now that was a looooong night. I know when you read the job description you thought we were a bunch of nerds, but we’re really not, I promise!
… Now that I’ve reread this post, I really hope my boss, Judy Haw, doesn’t read this! But I’m sure she’d understand; she’s a really sweet boss, and she understands what the life of a college student is like. And I’m really not as bad as this post makes me seem, honest!
If any of you are aspiring biology or chemistry majors, maybe you’ll have the pleasure of attending my sessions when you come here to USC! I’ll be looking forward to meeting you :)
Until next time!