The final few workshops finished much less eventfully than they had started. It was no fault of anyone, the format rather lent itself to a decline in attendance. Free revision naturally attracts only those more interested, or more engaged, in the content of the module. Still, it was a milestone: my third year of teaching was over. More importantly, the first year I’d ever taught were about to graduate and my second years to progress into their final stint.
I allowed myself a moment of reflection, winding down the class. Remembering them arrive as first years, confused about why they were studying statistics during a Psychology degree. Being genuinely a little worried about whether they could do any of it at all. The prevalence of number anxiety is high among psychology students, yet, here we were. Over the course of the previous two years, I’d seen attitudes change like the stages of grieving. Confusion led to anger led to acceptance, acceptance to interest, and interest to engagement.
Now, into the final stint as psychologists-in-training, they were to set about creating their own studies. For me, this was the part I was most interested in as an undergraduate. First year was weird, second year tough, and third was fun. All of it was interesting. And I hope, for these guys, it is too.It is a blessing and a curse, to teach research methods and statistics. Students will love and hate you, usually both at the same time. I hope most of all people have learned something from the material we’ve covered, the discussions we’ve had, and the off-topic conversations we’ve shared. I know I have. This is the most enjoyable part of teaching. You are as much a student as anyone else in the room, just of a different subject.
This does mean that you suffer from the exact same feelings as the people you teach. I am no stranger to the anxiety and worry of overthinking. Thoughts about whether what you are doing is being learned, whether the way you teach is enjoyed, or if you are doing a good job. I don’t know anybody that doesn’t experience this – certainly noone worth the role and title they occupy. In the moments of darker deep-thought, I try to remember the positives as a pupil would a good grade. I recall teaching people their first inferential tests, teaching proper interpretation and, to some of the more interested, how to do an ANOVA from first principles.
More importantly, I remember them getting it. I remember them understanding – and remember how they felt when they did. I am grateful to have had the chance to spend time with these students. In turn, I’m glad that to a certain degree they felt the same. I was told recently of being nominated for an award. Regardless of whether this is something I win, knowing that people felt strongly enough to do this is reward enough.
It’s been a fun few years. I hope I can say this of the next one.