"Friendship is born at that moment when one person says to another, 'What! You too? I thought I was the only one.'" ~ C. S. Lewis

Monday, September 17, 2012

Teaching Joys

So I have commenced my career as an adjunct professor. Having two years under my belt from the amazing TA experience during my Master's program, I feel so much more confident and relaxed as I approach the classroom this semester.

I'm teaching 1 section of English 1201 and 2 sections of English 1202 and I am loving it. There are definitely days when I want to pull my hair out, but I've had a couple of days that went so well I felt like I was walking on air.

In one 1201 class I split the students into two groups and assigned each group a side to take on whether a liberal arts education was beneficial or not. The debate got so heated a couple of times that I had to literally stand between them and shout a little to get them to calm down. The discussion of ideas and the nuance of arguments that began thrilled my soul!

And then this past week I taught one of my favorite visual texts - the alphabet from the New England Primer. After we analyzed and annotated the image I had groups of students come up with their own primer.  They got really into it, even developing rhyming couplets to explain each word and got in a little one-upmanship as they tried to outdo each other with cleverness. So much fun.

Meanwhile in 1202 I had one of the best in-class discussions ever in a class when we started digging into gender roles and stereotypes in connection to The Glass Menagerie. In both classes the students (almost all of them) had so much to say, so many opinions and they debated back and forth with a minimum of guidance from me. Referencing specific moments in the play and referring back to the non-fiction framing texts I used to set up the drama unit. It was amazing.

And on Thursday I asked groups to summarize a scene from Twelfth Night, the Shakespeare play for the class, but I put a spin on it and told them they only had 140 characters: like a Tweet. Some of them struggled with it more than others, but they all managed to get an entire scene, and then the entirety of Act 2, boiled down to such a short phrase. Some of them even got into the Twitter aspect and had @s and hashtags that made me laugh out loud.

The camaraderie in all three classes has been fantastic and, while a lot of it is the luck of the draw and I have great students, I think a lot of it also comes from the fact that I'm more comfortable in my own skin.

But the one thing this has definitely shown me is how much I love teaching these classes and how blessed I am to be doing something so fulfilling.