Participant Observation in Weather & Climate

I show up to my Weather & Climate class a little bit late due to the long line to get a coffee and a cookie for class. As I open the door to enter the classroom, the professor Scott White is standing right there in the doorway with his back facing me while talking about a picture he had pulled up on┬áhis slide. Now I regretted waiting in line for the coffee and cookie for having an awkward entrance of apologizing for being late, everyone staring at me, and sitting down at the closest desk to the door. The fact that I wasn’t feeling very well in the morning also didn’t help with everything going on.

Now I have my binder open with my paper, pencil, and hand ready to work in being a participant observer. I draw a line down the middle of my paper and start the observing. Immediately, I wasn’t sure how I felt about being a participant observer outside of my COMP250 class, and changing my rhythm of note taking I had already developed for my Weather & Climate course. I noticed I got very distracted with my observations and thoughts around my observations that I wouldn’t be paying attention to the professor lecturing the material from his powerpoint. Also, all my observations and thoughts began to be primarily of the cute girl I was sitting next to in class. As soon as I noticed how I was being distracted by my observations, I changed my focus entirely on the professors powerpoint.

After turning my attention to the powerpoint, the material began to click better and I was beginning to learn and try to recall the material over in my head, being as there is a test this coming Monday. Now that I was back to my comfortable rhythm of taking notes for this particular class, I began to think about the participant side of things, but could not think of how to participate other than ask questions. I then began to think about different questions I could ask along the period of class, however, I was understanding everything the professor was presenting and found no need to ask questions. What felt like no time at all, the class finished, and I realized being a participant observer worked completely different than when I’m in my COMP250 class. Then I began to think and understand that, my participation in all of my classes varies and differs. This is because I find a particular method for each of my classes that will work best for me and my learning, and was content with that.

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