7.14.2010

Teaching

When I first became a teacher (not a long time ago), I entered with a misnomer dragging along behind me like a strip of unused toilet paper. I assumed that learning, or rather teaching, would not be an activity that could be labeled under the "fun" category. I''m not sure why I felt so certain of this, perhaps it was the fact that I was assigned to teach a required Writing and Rhetoric course, or maybe I just assumed that no student actually likes getting up at the crack of dawn to sit in a classroom.Tthat it was more like a duty, or a thing we all have to do. I have always loved school, (nerd), and honestly, I think most people do. I can't quite account then for my assuming that teaching and studenting is a less than thrilling endeavor. There is something terribly exciting about learning and then knowing and then doing. I think I was a bit jaded (you may recall posts from the month of May) during the most boring class of my whole lifetime. It was funny then when I got my teaching schedule for summer and realized that I was teaching in the exact same class room that had held me captive 5 hours every week for the previous 8 weeks. The first day of class I told my students that they could bring snacks to class, and that there would indeed be a 3 minutes break on the hour. I continue to make sure that I am not at the front of the room talking for more than 10 minutes (I know some really great classes require that method). I subconsciously defy the previous aura of that space.

I have now been teaching in that classroom for about a month, and I have been having the most delightful of times. Would it be bragging to say that I think my students have been too? I love our discussions and that every student has been there on time every single class period. Granted, there are only seven of them, six boys, but we are having, dare I say, a lot of fun. I love that a student gets up and leads a discussion every period, or that we are writing rhetorical analyses about Steve Jobs key note speech, or that I was invited to join the mid-class break to the vending machines with everyone (they even came back to get me). I would invite these students to a barbeque at my house; we are friends. Learning together is one of the most fantastic parts of my day, and consequently, life for that matter. None of this should be a surprise to me though. I've had the most incredible teachers and professors throughout my years of schooling. I would even say that some of my professors are my dearest friends (they might not even know that), but I think it stems from a deep admiration and appreciation for what they do, so we may never talk on the phone, or do what normal friends do, but I consider them, on my end, dear friends who have made an impact. I hope one day, or today, my students can think that of me.

Writing class with teen girls today was magic. Not because I'm some awesome, avant garde teacher, but because we had a lot of fun in my basement talking about writing, making zines about summer, making a mess and eating amish friendship bread. I honestly loved every second of it and am repeatedly impressed with the girl's abilities to write with confidence and to write well. They speak to each other sincerely and positively. Teaching, oftentimes, does not take much. I feel it more my responsibility to create an environment where someone can feel empowered to try new things, to be creative, to think hard and in ways they haven't always.

How lovely to be a part of something.

3 comments:

e. del mar said...

I should not have read this today... On day when I'm trying to decide if I can just squeeze in a class to teach. Geeze.

k. double-u. said...

I want to be in your class.

Chris Almond said...

As someone who hopes to teach at a university I found this post inspiring. I can imagine you are an excellent teacher whose students appreciate having you as an instructor.