Saturday, September 04, 2010

Back to school

This past week was the first week of classes.

I just kept thinking about how incredibly different this Fall feels from the same time last year. I had just been hired, I had NO IDEA what I was doing teaching, grading, lesson planning. It was all a mystery to me. I didn't even know what the process was for getting copies or how to find my classes.

This semester, I felt more excitement than nerves in the days leading up to the start of the semester. I walked into class, confident in my lesson planning and in my ability to teach my students what they needed to know. Or rather, I feel confident that I will do my best, and my best may not be the best ever, but it won't be the worst, either. And whether they actually learn it? Well, that is mostly out of my hands, and I am confident that I will not lose sleep when a student insists on failing my class by lack of effort and/or participation.

Outside of class, I ran into several former students. I got hugs and big smiles and exclamations of welcome. In the classroom, I met nearly 75 new students (I'm teaching 3 sections of ENG-101), who I am slowly getting to know. Who I can tease in class, who always has an opinion, who pays attention but will never raise a hand .... hopefully some of those will have hugs and smiles for me after the semester is over.

All week, in the back of my mind, I keep thinking, "Has it really only been a year?" It feels like a lifetime ago that everything was so new and scary and daunting. When I first started, I just kept telling myself that the first semester was the worst, and it would get better. It had to.

I'm so relieved to realize it's true. It's so much better than a year ago. And I'm looking forward to what this year will bring.


Jonathan said...

I bet you're an amazing teacher. Do you ever think back to your favourite teachers when you were young?

Do you model your approach on any of them ? Do you have a frame of reference ? Somebody that inspires you ?

M. Lubbers said...

Jonathan: I know it's taken me awhile to reply, but I've been thinking about your question. (And thanks for the encouragement:)

It's a hard question to answer. I can definitely tell you the names of a few of the teachers that really influenced me, but I'd have a hard time saying exactly what they did or why it worked. As I'm teaching, I keep wishing that I paid better attention to teaching methods, pedagogy, etc. when I was a student ... but then I had no idea I'd end up teaching college.

Anyway, that's a long-enough comment. I think it needs to be turned into another post to really do the question justice;) Thanks for asking!