So thanks to being laid-off once again, I now have new teaching opportunities. Last week was session one of Speech 100 at a Maryland University. First nights are a challenge as the syllabus must be reviewed and all the assignments described so students understand the demands of the course. This particular class is three hours, 7-10 PM. Most of the students work long days, then take their classes, and go home to pick up the toys, do the laundry, and get ready to do it all again the next day. How would I engage them for that length of time; how would I inspire them to stick with the course, to get on board?
At the beginning of the class, Ms. L sat front and center, her head in her hands. When she did raise her eyes and look in my direction, she scowled, her mouth set flat. Slowly, throughout the evening, she sat up more, wrote down a few things, started to ask questions, venture answers. The evening wore on and as we were finishing an activity, I said, “Oh, we have to stop this now. It’s 9:30 and I still have one thing we must do.”
“9:30? You’re kidding?” Ms. L said. “Time is flying by in this class.”
To a teacher, that is as good as a standing ovation. It was a very good night for teaching. Several students lingered to chat – another sign that the class was meaningful to them; that they will be on board for the rest of the voyage.
I feel fortunate to have been “forced” to work where I am appreciated, seen, and still challenged and growing as much as my students.