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Thread: Post docs?

  1. #1
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    Post docs?

    I'm not entirely sure what a post doc is, I know one taught one of my classes last year and he sucked horribly (delivered lectures that did not fit with the texts, the assignments did not fit with the lecture material, the tests did not fit the text, lectures or assignments, did not have office hours, refused to make appointments, informed our class he would rather go to the campus pub than teach us et c) and when my dad found out that a post doc was teaching a class, he said there was something wrong with my school... as post docs are glorified T.A.s...

    What is your opinion? Should post docs be teaching classes? (It was a 3rd year class too... though apparantly he has scared many a first year away from physics as well)

  2. #2
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  3. #3
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    I thought that PhD was kinda the top level of education..

    And basically they're researchers in training, kinda?

  4. #4
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    At my school, some of the best teachers were T.A.s

  5. #5
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    All I know is that you need 5000 posts to reach it...

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by mickal555
    All I know is that you need 5000 posts to reach it...
    And that's all that matters.

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by Normandy6644
    Quote Originally Posted by mickal555
    All I know is that you need 5000 posts to reach it...
    And that's all that matters.
    and I should just get there about a day before the big asteroid hits.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by A Thousand Pardons
    At my school, some of the best teachers were T.A.s
    At my [high] school, some of the best teachers were student teachers. They're more strict than the normal teachers... Too bad they only stick around for 6 teaching weeks... :-?

    --hippie

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by hippietrekx
    Quote Originally Posted by A Thousand Pardons
    At my school, some of the best teachers were T.A.s
    At my [high] school, some of the best teachers were student teachers. They're more strict than the normal teachers... Too bad they only stick around for 6 teaching weeks... :-?

    --hippie
    *sigh*. last year when I tried to get a HS teaching job in NJ, I did a bunch of subbing. Time after time both faculty and students siad that I was much better than the regular teachers that they had. However, when time came to hire me, no one did. :-? Of course this is in NJ and we're rapidly becoming famous for confusing our heads with out posteriors when it comes to education.

    so I'm heading back to grad school.

  10. #10
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    Re: Post docs?

    Good students (even those who earn Ph.D.s) do not necessarily make good teachers.

  11. #11
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    given that postdocs are particularly after a career in research, it is not surprising that one would make a poor teacher. not that they all will be, just that the job definition tends towards those that like investigating, not teaching.

    taks

  12. #12
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    I'm not entirely sure what a post doc is
    A post doc is a doctor for the postal service!
    He mends torn envelopes and makes sure that the stamps don't fall off!

  13. #13
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    Most of the T.A.'s I've had teaching labs and some classes have been very good at teaching us.Of the professors I have had (attempt to ) teach me I have had 1 (yes one) who gave a [badworddeleted] about his students. The rest stood up at the front of the first class and said "I'm being paid to do research. I don't care if you pass or fail, but don't come knocking at my door if you have a problem. That's what T.A.'s are for".

  14. #14
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    Well, as a former physics TA I suppose I could take umbrage at a couple of the characterizations, but I won't. Suffice to say that at least I put some time into my teaching efforts, and my student's comments after the semester bore that out. Also bear in mind that most TA's (in my experience) are also taking a full course load of their own. They are also usually in the first two years of their graduate study, in many ways the most intense and stressful since that's where the "weeding out" takes place. So the attitude some of you have encountered is understandable, if not acceptable.

    As to postdocs, the best analogy I can think of is the internship and residency an MD has to go through. Intern's are doctors (they've finished med school) but can't practice medicine without this additional training. Postdocs aren't as required, but they are traditional as a chance for a new Ph.D. to do some research without the pressures of writing a dissertation or of being a full faculty member. It's unusual to find a postdoc teaching.
    "I often say that when you can measure what you are speaking about, and express it in numbers, you know something about it; but when you cannot measure it, when you cannot express it in numbers, your knowledge is of a meagre and unsatisfactory kind." - William Thompson, 1st Baron Lord Kelvin

    "If it was so, it might be, and if it were so, it would be, but as it isn't, it ain't. That's logic!" - Tweedledee

    This isn't right. This isn't even wrong. - Wolfgang Pauli

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by Eta C
    <snip>
    As to postdocs, the best analogy I can think of is the internship and residency an MD has to go through. Intern's are doctors (they've finished med school) but can't practice medicine without this additional training. Postdocs aren't as required, but they are traditional as a chance for a new Ph.D. to do some research without the pressures of writing a dissertation or of being a full faculty member. It's unusual to find a postdoc teaching.
    Having had two post-doc positions in my career, I would agree with Eta C. At least in the physical sciences (mine was in chemistry) I don't recall any postdoc teaching positions. My first one was at a national lab and my second was at a university, but both were purely research positions. As Eta C said, postdoc are kind of defacto internships, most universities want to see them if you are applying for professorships. My career path took me into industrial research, where postdocs are much less common. My first one was because it was a great opportunity and the second was because I couldn't find a "real" job.
    At night the stars put on a show for free (Carole King)

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  16. #16
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    continuing the OT, I was part of a group that got a student teacher fired once. here's a hint--do not express a wish that they'd all just go back where they came from in a high school in Los Angeles County, especially when all the student aides are born-in-this-country Hispanic kids.
    _____________________________________________
    Gillian

    "Now everyone was giving her that kind of look UFOlogists get when they suddenly say, 'Hey, if you shade your eyes you can see it is just a flock of geese after all.'"

    "You can't erase icing."

    "I can't believe it doesn't work! I found it on the internet, man!"

  17. #17
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    yeah, most TAs are actually working on a thesis or dissertation, i.e. they aren't postdoc yet. my current school is not big on research as they are slowly whittling the department down to nothing for budgetary reasons (i'm not concerned as i only have one class in my major left...) they do have a few TAs running around that are working on MS/Phd degrees.

    taks

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