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Spring Break!! March 19, 2009

Posted by gordonwatts in university.
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CIMG1604I made it!! I never thought the words “Padre Island” would sound so good in my ears again. Well, replace Padre with Prague… I thought I was done with that spring break stuff! Guess not… [Ok, that isn’t a picture from sunny south Texas… that is Jekyll Island in Florida, sunny, but hazy.

The last two quarters I taught graduate level particle physics. Not well, mind you. But I did teach it. It was a lot of fun – I’d not looked carefully at a lot of that material since I was a graduate student. And when I was a graduate student I never did symmetry breaking in my courses – or motivated anything using group theory. The flip side was the price I paid over the last two quarters. I think on average for each hour I was standing in front of students I was probably preparing for about 5 or 6 hours. I teach the course again next year, too. But it will be much better (I hope); I now know my way all the way to the end. Right now I want to redo everything – especially the first quarter which I really don’t like now. And I think it will take me a lot less time to prepare too [one of those lies we tell ourselves].

And now spring break starts. One advantage of teaching a graduate course is I don’t give a final exam. My grades are already done! Woo hoo! I’m off to Prague for a small conference. It would be a lot of fun if I didn’t actually have to have my posters and talks ready!

Next quarter – which starts in a little more than 2 weeks – I’ll be teaching again. But the class will be a very different animal. This quarter I had 3 students in my class and 1-2 others that would drop by to listen. Taught in a small room, all of us sitting around a table with my projecting my Tablet PC’s output onto a projector. Next quarter I will have about 500 students! Talk about shifting gears! But it is an introductory lab course, so it will take less intellectual effort and, thank goodness, I’ll have a small army of TA’s. And that will give me some time to get back to my research – something I’ve been ignoring way to much for the last six months.

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