Today, I finished up my last real day of teaching. Final exam #1 down. Final exam #2 is Friday, but it's a take-home that can be turned in by email so I'm not expecting to see my students again. It was actually tough saying goodbye the last few days, since I decided not to go back in the fall. You really do start to make a connection. But, I need to concentrate on school and myself a little more. Nevertheless, the weather's beautiful and it feels soooo good that spring is here. So, I'll get over it.
I'm enjoying my last afternoon "off" (I've been taking one afternoon off a week to grade papers) because next week I go back to full time at my regular job. After getting home, I played around a little with the camera. I'm all about spring green today. Wearing it, and soaking up all the new leaves.
And since I put embarrassing pictures of Matt on here from time to time, here's an embarrassing one of me. On the left, a self-portrait the morning I started teaching. Scared to death. Hate that picture, but it does tell a story. And then, today. Much more relaxed.
I've been spending a lot of time thinking about the past 8 months and what has transpired. So, here are a few things I've learned about myself from my first year of teaching:
- I actually can get up early and get to work at 8am. I just don't like to.
- I connect a little better with young women. I mean, I was okay with the guys, but they weren't going out of their way to chat with me after class. Maybe that's just guys though. I did have one male student last semester who told me that he liked the final exam. Who does that?
- I actually kind of know what I'm doing, even though I was flying by the seat of my pants the whole time.
- Apparently the one "social problem" (I taught Social Problems) that gets me really fired up is global warming. In particular, the American auto industry's lack of foresight on fuel efficiency and emissions standards. I do my best to stay relatively neutral so that students are comfortable expressing their opinions, but the week we talked about the environment there was one class where I was up on a soap box for a couple minutes. Just a couple though. The rest of the day I was lecturing in my head, "Wake up people! The glaciers are melting! Take steps! Do what you can!" If you haven't seen An Inconvenient Truth, do me a favor and see it. Even if it means rolling your eyes at Al Gore. See, I'm up on a soap box again!
- And lastly, people actually do learn something in college. My upper class students were, by and large, much better writers than most of the freshman. When I started teaching upperclassmen, I really wondered if their papers were taken off the internet because they were so good. Still, sadly, no one knows the difference between affect and effect. I can't grade papers without fixing people's poor grammar and spelling. I have a streak of perfectionism after all.
So there you go. Lessons learned, for now.