Monday, December 04, 2006

Maybe because it's finally snowing

Or maybe because I'm in the home stretch on this fall's classes, or maybe it was that one of my favorite students brought me a sample bottle of his family's homemade Shiraz, but I'm feeling less bleh today than I have in a long while.

I've been seriously dreading coming to work lately. I feel like I have no idea what I'm doing, that the students aren't even interested in learning, that another term of this will kill me, etcetera and so forth - bad mojo all around.

A couple things have helped me not want to get all AK-47 on this place.

I finally managed to drop by one of the staff people who teaches the same class I teach during a block of time when she wasn't crazy busy. One of the hardest things about teaching is that you're pretty much on your own - it's hard to know if you're "doing it right" until you get the students' work as proof of their understanding. What makes these remedial level courses harder, is that sometimes, no matter what we do, some of these students are never going to "get it", either from lack of interest, effort, or ability. I have to learn not to take that personally. One of the other things that my colleague told me, that I hadn't really thought about before is this: these students are not happy about having to take this class, even though it's more a gift than a punishment, and they've never learned to separate the class from the person teaching it. So all that angsty resentment they've been projecting at me is not about me. It's about the class.

Must remember that. Must remember that. Must try to remember that. Ommmmm...

The second thing is that I do have some really great students - students who put in the effort, who ask questions, who show huge leaps of improvement, who bring me bottles of wine... I just need to focus more on the great students and less on the cranky, resentful, unwilling-to-do-the-work students. I'm trying. But it ain't so easy as it sounds.

And in any case - 3 more class meetings, then individual portfolio reviews, and then DONE!!!

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