This has been my first semester teaching a microbiology lab at Virginia Tech to undergraduates, so I wanted to use this blog post to reflect on this experience and the ways that I believe it has also made me a better student.
The first day that I was in front of my class I felt incredibly unprepared and under-qualified to be in that position. After all, these students had just paid thousands of dollars to be in those seats and listen to the material that I was about to share with them. It took a week or two before I noticed that when I started my lectures, the nerves that had been so prominent at the start were no longer there. Throughout my own classes this semester, I noticed that I was also a lot calmer and more confident when presenting my own projects. This bi-weekly experience with public speaking to my class was gradually making me a better presenter outside of the classroom as well. Even though I’m not planning on being a professor in the long run, there will be times when I am responsible for the education of others throughout my career. I believe that teaching this lab has given me a noticeable change in comfortability when it comes to public speaking, a better control over managing individuals in a large group setting, and easily troubleshooting the non-stop issues that arise in an undergraduate lab setting. I found a few articles that also spoke about the benefits of teaching during higher education and how it can improve our own studies, which really solidified my belief that teaching is an invaluable asset when it comes to working through our own studies as graduate students.