Teaching Feels Different this go-round


I successfully finished my first week as a second year teacher. Technically I’ve taught this course 6 times already, so I shouldn’t be nervous, but there’s always the first day jitters when I meet my fresh crop of students and realize “oh God, I’m going to have to get to know them.” And then I meet them and they are such delightful people in their teenage dysfunction, that I can’t help but smile and then turn around and kvetch with my co-instructor.

This year feels much more relaxed. I haven’t been ‘raging against the machine,’ and have accepted the fact that I am getting paid X amount of dollars on my advising days to be available to advise students. Which translates to getting paid X amount of dollars to sit in my office facebooking. And that I might not make huge structural program changes, but I can get involved in professional development and meet some more faculty on campus that can contribute to my overall development as a teacher. It’s exciting.

One professional development that I’ve gotten involved in is on Coursera, which is a MOOC (massive online open community) where I’m taking a course on being a teacher. And by taking a course I mean I’ve logged in a few times and gotten some good ideas, but haven’t actually done much of the work at all. I’m trying to let my perfectionistic student attitude go and just get some info that’s helpful to teaching my students.

I love standing in front of my class feeling relaxed and like I have enough time to go through my materials, while also getting to know students or going with the flow in class. Current event discussion in my afternoon class went a good 15 minutes, rather than 5. Yay! Meant less time for lecture and that we’ll come back to this material on Tuesday, but so be it, that’s going with the flow! If the students are engaged with the material, they are learning. If they are just sitting through a lesson so I can get a lesson in, then that is boring and lame!

I’m tired at the end of the week, but I am also excited and feel even more invested in teaching this course this time. I am actually having to hold myself back from checking my email on my day off, or grading the papers that I could grade on Monday. That energy is so unusual for me!

 

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