2017-09-27

Starting as a TA

I figured I might post a short update on progress through my PhD. Through the summer and the start of the fall, I've been learning more about how to consistently incorporate molecular vibrations into descriptions of fluctuational phenomena, including van der Waals interactions and radiative heat transfer. It's been a very fun and interesting process, learning more about such fluctuational phenomena, revisiting and expanding on what I've learned in linear algebra and numerical analysis, and gaining a better understanding of the broader impacts that my work could have.
Also, two days ago marked my first day as a TA: I'm a TA for the graduate-level class ELE 511 — Quantum Mechanics with Applications. The discussions I've had with people during TA training and with the lecturer for this class, along with the preparation that I've had to do on my own and the questions that I've encountered from students so far, have really made me appreciate how much work it takes to prepare for teaching such classes and to be ready for students' questions, whatever they may be; plus, I've come to realize how annoying I must have been for TAs when I was a student, expecting them to be ready for literally any question, no matter how tangential to the material, and expecting them to be completely perfect in grading assignments, et cetera. To those TAs whose classes I took, I now have a better understanding of what your jobs were really like, and I thank you for putting up with me. I've enjoyed what I've been able to do so far as a TA, and I intend, with more time and practice, to become better at these variegated aspects of teaching as the semester progresses.

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