Friday, September 5, 2014

Day 4: What Do I Love Most about Teaching?

Day 4 of the Reflective Teaching Challenge
I'm glad to get a chance to write about this one. At least once a week, a moment of calm passes over me, and I think, "I can't believe this is my job. I can't believe I get to work at this incredible school with such wonderful students every day."

Selfish reasons to love teaching include the high I get while facilitating a class and I perceive things going well. When students are responsive and engaged, when they laugh at my stupid jokes, that is just a high that cannot be replicated. This ego boost is not the primary reason I love teaching, but it's a huge plus.

In a tutor training course I took/taught, we talk about the lightbulb moment, now referred to by Oprah lovers as an aha moment :-) Lightbulb moments are when the student seems to get something that they hadn't before. There is usually evidence of pride in themselves for having understood something they previously struggled with. Most easily seen when working with a student one-on-one, lightbulb moments can occasionally be observed in the classroom as a whole.

Sometimes, these moments are not rapturous for students, but they're important realizations nevertheless. I've had students' eyes fill up with tears when they realize they're too overloaded in their personal lives or with their class schedules to perform in their classes as they want to. I remember a tearful conversation with a college composition student who had gotten through two developmental writing courses despite minimal comprehension and expression of English. In my class, she hit a wall, and we talked and she agreed that she needed to take some time off and take some ESL courses before trying comp again. That was a hard moment (for me too!) but it was a realization she needed to have. When she left my office, she seemed resolved to continue her educational path with just a little detour.

Lightbulb moments! They come in many forms.

1 comment:

Henry Aronson said...

I love those lightbulb moments, too. It's the "high" that a paycheck of recognition (well, almost) can't give me. I get from your post that so much of learnign is about relationship- you care about their intellectual, social, ethical growth. And you remind me that so much of the learning isn't limited to formal learning objectives but to those lessons that transcend our lesson plans.