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.
9 months ago