Wednesday, August 23, 2006

School's back

I'm taking 18 hours and have all new-to-me professors this semester, which so far is proving to be more interesting than challenging.

I have several professors teaching from varying degrees of the Socratic method. Basically, this just means that the teacher calls on a student, the student stands, the teacher asks a question, the student answers, the teacher continues asking that student questions until the student can no longer answer, the teacher moves to another student while the original student remains standing. By the end of the class, half the students could be standing, but on a good day, only one or two will be standing. It's a great method of teaching because it forces the student to be prepared and in my opinion, I retain the information better when I am taught in this manner. However, it is stressful only in that you really don't want to be the one who can't answer the questions. I've had other teachers teach in this manner but never as many as I have doing it this time around.

Research: The professor for this class only teaches about 10% of the time. 70% of his time is spent doing research and 20% is spent writing/speaking/etc. There are only 6 people in that class and it is fantastic. He is interested in what we have to say and teaches in a very relaxed way using the Socratic method. We have to write a research paper in this class but I'm looking forward to that because he is a fantastic teacher and seems really interested in making sure we actually learn.

Constitutional Law: This professor teaches from the traditional Socratic method so there is actually quite a lot of pressure to perform well. He is interesting in that if he is enjoying questioning a particular student he will make the person sitting next to the student move and he will sit with the student and continue the questioning. All of the cases we will be studying have already been given to us, though, so there's really no way to not be prepared for his class (unless YOU PEOPLE keep making me go play trivia* at various bars around town when I should be home studying!) :) There are about 100 people in this class.

Civil Rights: Very interesting professor. She might weigh about 90 pounds but she's from New York City and she is tough. She's another one who cares about the learning process and she gives interesting lectures. There are probably 150 students in this class.

Comparative Courts: This professor is new at UTD from the University of Iowa. She's a feminist and teaches from a middle-of-the road Socratic method. Unfortunately, this class directly follows my Con Law class so that's a lot of studying for me to do. She is an expert of global human rights and seems very interested in making sure we learn. We have to write papers in this class but they are rather low key and the topics should prove to be interesting. There are about 100 students in this class.

Latin America: This is a history course that I'm am taking to satisfy the requirements for my minor in history. This will be the very last history course I am ever required to take and while that is a good thing, it still makes me feel a little sad. The professor for this is, well, interesting. And by interesting, I mean really irritating. I don't enjoy her style of lecture and she is seriously a walking cliche of a sorority girl. I don't like her style because she is at the front pacing back and forth looking over the heads of everyone in the room at some unknown point on the back wall and she never comes up to breathe except to say "um," "uh," or "like." It's very hard to follow. She seems knowledgeable though, so I'm going to try to focus on that. There are about 70 students in this class.

Algebra: I know, I know. How have I gotten this far in my academic career without taking the dread algebra course? Mostly because I'm lazy and cool like that. I know that math is important but it's just not interesting to me so I've put it off literally as long as possible. Luckily, my professor seems really good. He's Russian and sometimes I can't understand what he's saying, but among other things, he's also a physicist and I have to respect the fact that he is smart enough to be a physicist and is still able to relate to us lowly takers of mere algebra. There are over 100 people in this class.

All in all this semester is looking to be very interesting, if a bit pressured for time. So far I'm having a ball and am actually looking forward to all my classes. I've decided to try for a 4.0 this semester, which I haven't seen at UTD since my very first semester here. We'll see how that goes!

*And by "play trivia", I totally mean "get our drink on."

No comments: