My First 2 Months as Assistant Professor

Photo credit: JennyPennyAho
I have been very busy new educator and the past 75 days as flown by!  I have my ups and downs and somedays I just come home and vent to Seth. When those days occur,  I just feel overwhelmed and wonder why I'm doing this.  Then, I go into the lab the next day and my students prove that all those days of preparing for lessons paid off! Yesterday was the last day I'll see them until their final exam in December and I just couldn't have been more proud of them!  They performed venipunctures  and answered practice exam questions like pros! I just wish everyday was like yesterday. :)

Here's what I've learned:

1)  During my graduate studies, I considered myself a "professional student."  I knew how much to study, when to study and how much time to put aside to get my schoolwork completed.  I scheduled time and worked hard to complete papers or other assignments, so I could attend fun events whiling living in Vegas. If I couldn't swing it, I just didn't go.
What I've discovered is: Community College students do not know how to manager their time with studying and always wait to the last minute to take quizzes and then wonder why they got locked out of the quiz!!  It's definitely a learning experience and I do my best to give them studying tips and recommendations to make them successful students, but truly, there's only so much I can do.  They've got to grow up eventually. When I get frustrated, I just need to remember that I was once a 20 something student trying to get through college too.

2)  Lesson planning is hard work!  The lead instructor and my other colleague meet once a week to prepare for the upcoming class.  It was tough in the first few weeks, but now we can get a planning session done in 20 minutes or less.  Typing up the lesson plans and keeping them in files will help us for next semester, now that we've worked out most of the kinks.

3)  Work trips!! I took my first work trip to visit a consortium participant (for the grant I got hired for)  just outside of Albuquerque and it was wonderful meeting educators who have integrated basic skills into their courses successfully!  I don't know when my next work trip will be, but I enjoyed getting out of my little town and exploring another part of NM, even if it was just a hotel stay and a visit to another campus for six hours.

4)  Having two experienced educators working by my side is super helpful.  They provide constructive criticism, so I can constantly improve my teaching style.  In the beginning of the semester, I was just reading my notes to the students and asking a few questions here and there.  Now I throw a lot of "what if" scenarios into my lectures to make them critically think and also provide real-life stories to help them realize the seriousness of health care.  I've been commended for my weekly "announcements" in the online learning system to keep my students abreast of upcoming deadlines and important information for their learning and clinical.

5)  I have been an RN for 12 + years and the basics is nursing is common sense to me.  I have found it fun and yet difficult to break down the basics of nursing (turning a patient in bed, dressing and redressing someone with a weak arm or leg, etc.).  I have performed these skills for so long that it comes easy and now I've got to break down every skill into steps (sometimes there are more than 30 steps).

6)  My new desk is awesome!  I still need to decorate the wall (I'm thinking I'll do a gallery wall of some sort).  It's a great, comfortable space for me to get work done while at home. I also need to get a comfy upholstered chair, but for now I'm using one of my dining chairs.  This is the kind of chair I'm looking for, but I just haven't had the time to shop for it.  Maybe online is the way to go! After all I bought my awesome desk from!

Photo Credit: JennyPennyAho

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6) Integrating technology:  Tomorrow I'm going to try a new instructional method by making a few videos of myself completing some skills the students had difficulty with and then post it on the online learning system.  I informed my boss of my intentions and she informed me she bought a webcam and computer just to make videos in the lab.  I told her I'd use my iPhone 6S tomorrow, but I'd be happy to try the webcam when I'm not in a rush to get the videos made.  I'm glad she's on the same page as me and I like being creative to help my students be successful.

7)  Completing new employee training has been super helpful!  I'm about to finish up a two-week online course for "online teaching" and they've provided wonderful tips to help me be a successful educator.  This past week, they challenged us to record a video of ourselves and post within the online learning system.  I had a lot of practice with YouTube this past year (when I recorded Seth's progress while in San Antonio) and it was super easy for me to record an video, post to YouTube, change it to "unlisted" and then post it within the online learning system.  My video was clear and easy to hear.  I noticed the people who used webcams had grainy videos and static.  I think I'll stick with my iPhone for now and then check out the webcam my boss recently purchased for our dept.

8) I've been lugging around my laptop, heavy textbook, binder and other materials four nights a week and it's gotten old really quick. So..... I purchased a rolling bag from Amazon and I just got notification from UPS that its arriving TOMORROW! I can't wait to use it!  The great aspect of this bag is it can actually unclip from the "rolling" portion of the bag, so I can carry it if I chose too.
McKlein USA Berkeley Leather Rolling Laptop Tote EXCLUSIVE (Black)
McKlein USA Berkeley Leather Rolling Laptop Tote
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Thanks for stopping by JennyPennyAho!  I will provide another update after the semester ends in December.  Wish me luck with getting the new course I'm developing published to the online learning system and finishing out this semester with a bang! :) 


  1. Jenny, try clicker technology to help them get used to NCLEX style questions and then try "flipping the classroom" and then have them teach and you "fill in the blanks" It is fun and keeps them engaged!


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