I got a lot out of September's blogging challenge, and my colleague let me know a few days ago that there is another one through Teach Thought running in the month of November! Woohoo! Its theme, appropriately enough for the month, is gratitude.
I may not hit every prompt this time around, but I pledge to complete at least two posts a week. My colleague and routine source of inspiration is reaching out to other faculty campus-wide in an effort to get us working together and sharing ideas in a college-specific but cross-disciplinary fashion. I figure I should keep up the blogging efforts if we are going to do that :-)
The first prompt asks us to think about the best aspects of being a teacher.
Reading. A lot. As a writing instructor, I get to read all kinds of text: student-produced, colleague-produced, mentor texts, and some pretty fantastic works of literature (we're looking at Ghassan
Kanafani and Janet Frame in my intermediate comp class this week!).
Although it's true that my reading time isn't spent on the couch with warm and fuzzy novels like I did when I was a teenager, I am truly blessed to be able to read as much as I do. I can only imagine if I had another job that did not involve reading cool stuff, and even then I'd probably be tired when I got home and just want to sit around and watch reruns of 30 Rock.
Can we talk about the teaching high? That rush of dopamine, oxytocin, or whatever combination of hormones that floods the brain when we perceive a class going well? When students come up after class and say, "I just have to tell you [insert cool idea]! We ran out of time in class!"? (OK, that one doesn't happen very often. But when it does, it is magical.)
The high allows me to think, if only for a little while, that good stuff can happen in the classroom, that what we do is meaningful and well-intentioned and that somewhere something in the students' brains is firing off and new synaptic connections are being made. Maybe they've learned something they'll remember, that will help them later on when they have to think or write something in another context.
And it feels damn good, better than the feeling of eating this bear claw that I've just been gnawing on.
I am surrounded by thinking people all day. The intellectual stimulation and, without getting too cheesy about it, meaningful connections I have with colleagues and students make for such a rich work experience.
Some days I can't believe I've fooled my colleagues and my students into believing I'm educated enough to be in the classroom! And even though I feel like a little kid in her mom's big high heels sometimes, I can tell that stuff is happening when I'm in the classroom with students. At least, it happens with some students, sometimes. I know I'm fortunate to be in a job where I get to meet wonderful students like the one who worked 32 hours a week at the post office, took care of his children, and then wrote a paper on stereotype threats at 10:00 p.m. to post for peer review.
It's also pretty rad to have a quick conversation about natural birth and mom-shaming one minute, and then switch topics to growth mindset/fixed mindset.
There's a lot to appreciate about this job.