Friday, May 16, 2014

Professor Life...

…I survived my first semester of teaching! Now that it’s over, I can admit that I was really nervous going into this class. I’d never taught a class to anyone over the age of 5 before and most of my classes included crafts and snacks…what a bummer there are no snacks in college classes. Unless, of course, I’m your professor, but I digress. Aside from feeling like I had no idea what I was doing, I was afraid that I would hate it and dread the next fifteen weeks.
From day one, I was so concerned with being able to fill an entire hour and 15 minutes of class time. And for the first two weeks, I really struggled. Then finally my students warmed up and started interacting! It was glorious because suddenly, I was running short of time, but my students were discussing and sharing and interacting!
While I hated to read a textbook in college, I actually found almost all of this reading enjoyable. Perhaps it’s because I’ve now worked in my field for fifteen years so everything was coming full circle and it all clicked and made sense to me now.  Of course, we’d discuss something and then a news article would flash across my homepage that related to what I’d just lectured about. I loved when that happened because then I could say, “See-real life!!!” What I loved even more was when my students would email me news articles THEY found. Those emails were definitely a few of my proud professor moments.
I am horrible at pronouncing words/names that I don't use on a regular basis. There were a few students names that I know I butchered. Finally, a couple weeks in, I told them to just correct me every time I got it wrong. Eventually, I think I finally got it right...or they just gave up on me. I had one student that I'd ask to pronounce philosophers name for me to which he'd reply, "I'm not Russian," or Italian...or wherever the philosopher was from, but he was a good sport and helped me out. From day 1, I told them they could call me Alyssa. I never was. I was only addressed as Professor and it took me a few weeks to realize, oh hey, they're talking to me!
I tried to make class fun. I brought candy on the first day and on a study day. I even brought in cookies for my birthday to share and a goodie bag for each of them during finals week. We played kickball, discussed #cakewaytothewest, and hailed Canada. We became good friends with Aristotle, in the words of one of my students, "Man, he has an opinion on everything!" We discussed not only "book" issues, but how leisure is applied in our every day lives, in ways we don't even realize. I think most of the students, including me, took away from the class that leisure is so vital to our every day well-being and it's more than just watching tv.  
This class made me feel old. I'd reference movies or songs and most of the students stared at me with a blank look on their face. I guess I need to study up on current musicians and movies before I teach again. There were also a few teachable moments that the students taught me something. For instance, I learned all about women's wrestling, places in Arkansas and Boston as well as what food locations to stay away from on campus. Did I mention that I got free lunch? I only discovered the amazing chocolate chip cookies three weeks before semester ended which is probably a good thing.  
Another take away I have from the whole experience was the last week of class when two of my students told me they were both taking recreation jobs for the summer and they were EXCITED about it! Neither of them are recreation majors so that's a major win!  
So I survived my first semester of teaching and I loved it! I only got mistaken for a student, oh you know, every day, but it was still fun. It helped that I had an awesome bunch of students so hopefully my future classes will be just as great. Oh and all of my students passed! That makes me one proud professor!

1 comment :

Slamdunk said...

Congrats and I bet you were great. I am good at butchering names too. I require lots of homework and then I pass them back at the beginning of class. It helps me with the names and I tell them to correct me early in the semester or otherwise I will keep screwing of their names indefinitely.