Wednesday, September 14, 2005

The joy of teaching

I’ve been thinking a bit about teaching lately.  Yeah, I actually do that a lot – occupational hazard – but I’ve been thinking about enjoying teaching lately primarily for two reasons: a) I am teaching less than I ever have and b) my daughter Bethany is teaching for the first time and we talk about that a lot.  

For the last 8 years I’ve been teaching a wonderful course which had a LOT of student contact – five days a week, three hours a day with the same group of students.  It was intense but I loved getting to know the students.  On top of that, I have another course with content that I also really love (teaching religion in the elementary classroom) but far less student contact – only four hours a week for half a semester.  Now, because I’m department chair and have a course buy-out to do some writing, I only have my four-hour-a-week class and I find that I really relish the time in class.  I truly like the students I have this year (although we’ve only met three times so far) but I like the vibe we have going and it’s been a lot of fun to put a few new things in the course.  I look forward to each session – something I didn’t have the time to do when I was in class 19 hours a week.  (I know that teachers in real school are laughing right now but 19 college hours was at least as much work as a full week of full-time middle school teaching.)

Then there is Bethany’s teaching. I think she has some of the same teaching bug that I have.  We have a good time talking about the evils of grading and the buzz you get from having a class goes well.  Plus, today one of her students said “this is my favorite class!” (It works better with a southern accent.)   She was clearly pleased with that – who wouldn’t be in your first semester of teaching ever.  These are the things that remind me that, after nearly 30 years of doing this, I still enjoy teaching.


Ashley Uyaguari said...

That's exciting and encouraging! It was good to see you yesterday.

Rob Bobeldyk said...

I feel your pain and identify with your passion. As a former sixth grade school teacher I've enjoyed building deep, meaningful relationships with my students. Six years ago I made the transition to Calvin College and now spend the majority of my time in an administrative position. While I feel called to this position I do miss the little people in my life.

Fortunately, I know the dept. chair of the ed. dept. here at Calvin and he throws me a teaching bone here and there.