This morning I led my very first seminars as a teaching assistant, and they actually went fairly well! It's a strange experience, and feels very grown up--being on the other side of the equation and having a room full of people listen to you. Whenever I had to do presentations in the past, I got stage fright--hands shaking, talking too fast, forgetting what I was saying, etc. But for some strange reason, I didn't have any of that today. I think it might have been because they weren't my peers--they were undergrads (mostly freshmen), and I'm not really concerned about looking good or sounding intelligent in front of them...The pressure is off!
I think I did a decent job, considering it was my first time. I got them to talk, which is much harder than you'd think, and they all seemed to understand the assignment...we'll see how they do next week! In the meantime, I need to get some work done on this PhD. Between the exam invigilating, conference planning, and leading the seminars, I don't feel like I've accomplished much on the actual PhD research lately. I'm still working on the next writing assignment ('conceptualizing the student experience') and reading those essays by Fulbrighters. Some of this year's cohort have responded to my online questionnaire now, so that's a great development. A few have left some critical comments that were a bit painful to read, but I suppose that's part of the 'pilot study' process--working out which questions to ask and how to ask them best, etc.
All in all, it's coming along nicely and I'm still enjoying the PhD life :)