Prelude: Yup. I changed my background again. I still don't know if I like it, but the orange was starting to get on my nerves. I like the green, but it's not quite the right green, so don't be surprised if it changes again. Maybe I'll go Christmas in December :D
Here's what I really wanted to talk about.
This is my first year in grad school and I have the amazing opportunity of being a Teaching Assistant in the English Department. The blessing of this particular program is that we are actually teaching freshmen composition. We meet with an advisor weekly, are offered as much help and support as we need, but when 8:00 on Monday morning rolls around, I am the one walking into the classroom, teaching about transitions and MLA format and how to cite sources. I am the one giving the quizzes and grading the papers and fielding the questions.
It can be absolutely terrifying.
I've been through some interesting experiences this semester. I've had to deal with students challenging me over their grade, had to give someone an F, had to have that dreaded talk when a student plagiarizes. I've had a girl cry in my office, had people challenge me in the classroom. I've had the kids that are in class, but aren't actually present. And it's been draining to say the least.
But then. Oh, then....
I had the student tell me that my class was their favorite. Read the paper that blew me away with how much the girl had improved. Had a student thank me for helping them understand a concept. Had invigorating discussion. Watched so many students move forward, deepen in their ability to express themselves, understand that writing isn't just for English majors.
Today I had the chance to go to a musical where one of my students had the lead role. Sitting in the audience I was just struck by what an absolute honor it is to have a chance to make a difference in these kids' lives.
And you know, that feeling is totally worth every single frustration.
Being a teacher is awesome.