Thursday, September 16, 2004

 

On a Teaching High

Does anybody else get these? The highs that can come after teaching an especially great class, when things just come together and everybody is engaged and you really feel like you actually are teaching your students something? I just got out of my graduate seminar, and I'm feeling really great about how things are going. There are less than 10 students in there, so basically we just show up every week and talk. I do tend to give more background to them than I would if they were "real" graduate students, but in this class most of the time that comes out spontaneously. (Yes, I'm a snob, and I shouldn't think of them this way, but for the most part my graduate students work full time and are not pursuing the MA out of real scholarly ambition, thus, I cannot count on them to do "extra" reading).

I often have this feeling when I leave this course. I don't know if it's the size (so nice not to have to keep 30 students engaged!) or if it's that the subject of the course is very interesting to me and has very close ties to my scholarly work, or some combination of the two. Or maybe it's just that I'm finally getting used to the whole professing thing, and I'm not so anxious as I was last year to prove my authority with them. All I know is that when I have teaching days like this I know exactly why I'm doing this and I have no regret about the fact that it is the central thing in my life. (Strange how teaching inspires this in me but my research really doesn't. Teaching is just so concrete - I know when I'm good in the classroom and I know when I suck. With research I feel much more... at sea... and so the highs that I get from it are always tempered by my fear that what I've finished actually is really stupid and that I will realize this after some time has passed.)

But. The bottom line is, fuck the maudlin post of this afternoon.

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