Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Another Month, another class

Class started last night and I am teaching Comp. II this month.  I actually miss my Fundamentals class because they, at least, recognize they have a problem and need to be there.  I have been faced with students in the upper level comp. classes who don't understand why they need to know how to write.  There are times that attitude is very daunting for a professor.  No one has yet said something like that to me this month, but the month only has just begun. 

The biggest problem I had last night came in the last half hour of class when a number of students just got up and left.  They decided the class was done, and therefore they left.  This was while I was still lecturing.  In response, I gave the remainder of class a homework assignment that the others will not be able to make up.  I would like to know what prompts people to do that.  Our classes are scheduled until 9:50 at night.  If we get out early, so much the better, but  if we don't then we don't 

Honestly, though, that lack of caring and respect towards education is exactly why I am glad I teach at a college.  In high school, you are required to care whether or not the students care.  In college, I am there to teach the students who are there. If you show up and participate n my class, you'll get much more out of it.  If you choose to show up and not participate or not show up at all...  Well, that's your problem not mine.  I give the students plenty of opportunities to pass and give them more help than I probably should, certainly more help than Big Guy feels I should give them.  I do want them to pass though.  I want them to succeed. 

But, in the end, their choice whether to put forth the effort or not remains their choice.  If they choose not to, I cannot help them.  And that is the worst part of teaching.  I can't make them stay, I can't make them participate, I can't make them do what they need to.  All I can do is present the information and interact with those who are interested.   

Despite that, for some reason I do love to teach. I love getting in front of people and discussing the finer points of books or grammar. I like teaching a subject I am truly passionate about, and honestly, how can you NOT love the English language or grammar.  It's intricate and twisty because we stole so much from so many other languages. 

Part of that has to do with the British Empire's desire to control the entirety of the globe.  But it also has to do with everyone wanting to take of the islands of Ireland and England.  The Vikings and the French most notably donated quite a bit to the formation of the English language, but then the English went everywhere else on the crusades and, as a result, assimilated so much.

When you start explaining that to the students, they start to perk up and pay attention.  It gets better when you explain how all literature is tied in to sex and they start really listening.  All of a sudden, English becomes an interesting subject.  And my goal in teaching is that the majority of my students end up leaving my class more interested in the subject than when they started.  I think I'm doing OK. 

1 comment:

Storm, The Psychotic Housewife said...

I can't imagine leaving a class unless it was an absolute emergency. I remember in one of my Lit classes we were joking that you could always tell who was paying for their classes themselves vs parents because we were the ones that never skipped!