First full teaching days

Standard

Okay, I know I’ve only had two full days of teaching, but yesterday and Monday went really well. TR are my two hour classes. Well, 1:50 minutes. I had never taught a class that long before. Turns out, I was prepared! I think I may have found a format that works for me, so I’m going to go with it and see if it continues to work. And I got about 5 people or so to participate, which I think in a class of 35, on the first day of assignments, in a class that is expected to have low participation, over 10% is good. So I was pleased with that.

So far, the students, as a whole (all that I’ve encountered, mine and others), are really polite. And here they all think I look too young to be a professor. It may be that they think all profs should be about 50, and that they are accurately assuming my age, but deem that an age that’s too young for college teaching. Which is fine. I need the vanity ego boost right now as the  exercise and eating aren’t great at this moment and my clothes are tight and uncomfortable.

I’m a little depressed because I wish the J were here. Life is better and easier when he’s around, but it’s only a couple more months. I can handle it. I’ve almost got our bills caught up and figured out. And once I get the parents paid back, it will be smooth sailing.

Yesterday, I have to say, I was really proud of myself. Since I have 10 office hours a week (egads, I know, right?! I’m used to four!), I am determined to make the most of them for the time now when students are afraid to come see me and since I’m new I don’t have many. So I prepped for today’s class during my office hours which means that I didn’t have to get up to do it and rush. I also got most of Thursday’s stuff read through for the first go around and started prepping that. I have a lot of paperwork due tomorrow, but honestly, I’d rather do it at home because my home computer is better and so is the internet here. And I know I’m more likely to get *that* done than class reading at home if it comes down to it. So I felt really stress free last night. And this morning! I like this new plan! I think if I can prove to myself that I can be disciplined, then I might actually be able to get some work done. Plus, it helps that my office is a bright pretty green!

And I want to say, too, and if my fabulous former colleagues are reading this, you should know that you were the bright spots at Fancy Town College and I wouldn’t have made it the two years without you. But I realize here how really stressed and unhappy I was there. LIke when the J came home–I didn’t realized fully the toll that his being gone had on me until I got to the other side and felt that weight lifted. I don’t know if it would be an overstatement to describe FTC as a “toxic” environment, per se, because it wasn’t a bad place really, but I think the reason those rose colored glasses are still firmly fixed on my face is because I feel like a weight has been lifted, a weight I didn’t know was there. I feel it when I’m out running and I look around and I realize that I’m not running away from things when I’m out there–I’m not running out the stress for sanity reasons–I’m running because I want to be out for the run–and I realize that I’m lucky to be here and grateful, and dare I say happy? I didn’t realize the burden my former job was–not just the physical burden of the 4/4 or the 3/3 with the administrative position, but the mental burden of always second guessing myself because I didn’t know if my chair was going to be in a supportive mood or a paternal mood. The mental burden of having to stifle my personality in the classroom most of the time because if class was enjoyable that meant that the students didn’t have to work and could complain about it. Here, so far, I don’t feel like the students are misreading my enthusiasm for the subject matter as “we don’t have to do our work.” That may change when papers are due, but I really hammered into their heads on the first day how fucked they were (not in those terms) if they turn stuff in late. Plus, they’re expected to submit stuff in on-line and I can set a time cut off for that. And while some may argue that my teaching persona is not terribly professional because I am a goofball in the classroom, I’m not unprofessional by any means, I feel I’m a better teacher when I can be myself because my confidence comes through rather than an attempt to pose as an authoritative intellectual. No, I’m a giant ass dork. And when I can dork out over lit, I can teach at my best. And perhaps that’s just because I’ve gained more confidence over the last two years, after having a terrible first year on the t-t, and a mediocre, but better second year, maybe it’s just a confidence issue. So while I don’t regret having been where I was the last two years, and as stressful and exhausting as it was, if I had to do it over again to get to how I feel now, then I would. It was probably the best thing for me. And I made some great friends along the way, too.

So I think I’m going to read until the sun comes up and then drag my ass out for a run before school since it’s supposed to be hot as balls here again this afternoon.

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