Ready for school?

Richard Armitage as Gary Fuller in Into the Storm.

My syllabus written, my course management site is (partially) enabled, I have a PowerPoint and a plan and gas in the truck and nondescript but clean clothes on — in a few hours I’ll drop dad off with Flower, and then I’ll be on my way to encounter a new class of students. This is the first group of traditional students (18-24 year olds, first time in university) that I will teach face-to-face in about two years. So much depends on them. To be honest, I’d been avoiding this demographic for a while — the last group of them I had decided on the first day to be in a bad mood, and I couldn’t cajole them out of it for an entire semester. So I hope this group is at least inclined to be pleasant.

But then there’s me — because no matter what depends on them, in the end I’m the responsible party. How am I different in the two years since I encountered this demographic? I think I’m both more pragmatic and somewhat less impatient. I’m more critical about the question of “what” we’re actually teaching and whether it’s productive. I’m much less attached to lives of traditional students; I both feel and am older. I’m much less eager to teach people who don’t care to be taught. A mixed bag, I suppose. I still hope I have something to teach them.

~ by Servetus on August 28, 2018.

42 Responses to “Ready for school?”

  1. I hope all goes well today with your students and not being flippant here at all but after everything that happened with your dad this summer I hope the teaching ends up being a walk in the park as far as your stress level goes. Sending positive thoughts to you…

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  2. Wishing you the very best this semester. I sometimes found that one or two inspired students can ignite the rest . I do know they’re lucky to have you lead their journey.

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    • Yeah — if the class sort of gets together even an average class can be enjoyable. Unfortunately the previous course got together in negative emotion. But they were in a better mood today anyhow.

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  3. Good luck! Hope it turns out weel!

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  4. Well, you are on your way to new territory. I hope your students appreciate you and what they can learn from you. May they all be enthusiastic scholars eager to absorb your wisdom. Barring that, may they be quietly attentive most of the time with phones turned off.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Thinking of you! Hope all goes well and you have a good start!

    Liked by 1 person

  6. wishing you well! Regarding “I’m much less eager to teach people who don’t care to be taught. ” I have a similar atttitude with my job and those clients quite often make a turn around because they see their behaviour has really no bearing on your job

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    • That’s interesting. I feel like there is an ever larger group of students who want to see how little they can do and still pass. The issue is that for a large subset of the students in this program I am a gatekeeper due to grade minimum requirements.

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  7. Ich wünsche dir einen guten Start!

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  8. Gutes Gelingen wünsche ich dir. Hoffentlich ist die Stimmung aufgeschlossen, damit ihr gemeinsam etwas auf die Beine stellen könnt.

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  9. Good luck to you! I hope your first day went well! What subject do you teach?

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    • It has changed over the changes of campus. I used to teach a lot of courses on European history from 1400-1800, esp religious history, plus the surveys. In the current position I am teaching surveys and a lot of generalized social studies topics.

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  10. I hope it goes well and that you have at least a few students who are eager to learn the subject matter. I think they are lucky to have you. My two young people think they know so much (“I’m an adult, Mum.”). Hopefully your students will be open to finding out what they don’t know.

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    • I think with a lot of the material in this course their reaction is going to be “I don’t need to know that,” and I kind of get what they mean. But yeah, they still have stuff to learn.

      Liked by 1 person

  11. Ich wünsche dir einen hohen Wirkungsgrad! Who knows, after a bit of an abstinence, maybe it will be enjoyable to go back to an occupation that you are familiar with. Keeping my fingers crossed for lively and attentive students who realise that they are privileged to be taught by you!

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    • Thanks! I’m looking forward to some of this material, in any case. If I can get excited about the readings that often draws a few students along.

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  12. I hope it went well. When I train I mainly encounter enthusiastic students but my patience for the odd one that is just there to tick the boxes is limited. And getting more so with age.

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    • I hear you. It’s something I’ve been thinking about a lot this summer because of dad’s response to the different therapies (and my coaching). Probably the closest thing is piano lessons — I had 12 years of piano lessons and taught lessons myself for three years. That was my model for the therapies — you go to the lesson, you listen to what you’re taught, you go home, and you practice what you’re taught. That was not how dad saw it, really, and he protested all the way. At some point all the therapists told me to back off, and so the last three weeks I’ve been backed off and progress has been significantly slower. (It makes me think a bit of the little girl I taught who didn’t really want to have piano lessons and never practiced, and how our hours together were just torture most of the time for both of us.) Dad graduated from occupational therapy with the evaluation that they could have helped him more but they didn’t feel he was cooperating and he’d met all their baselines for independent living, and they had a waiting list for appointments. It was somewhat better with physical therapy — he had gotten to 90 percent on all his goals, but he refused to practice the last one (balance), and they decided to call it quits because he told them he didn’t see the point in practicing and they didn’t see him improving. This week the speech therapist told him that if he didn’t do the practice during the week she was going to terminate the therapy. Now I’m torn between doing what the therapists want (backing off) and doing what would be best for him (hassling him to practice so that he can continue the therapy). If he had no more therapy, I could cut the three times weekly 40 mile drive, which would also be great for my mood — but I think I’m going to nag. In his interest.

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      • It’s much easier to have strong boundaries professionally than personally though isn’t it? I feel for you. I’ve been there. Years ago I took a course in conflict management – the most useful thing I learned is that sometimes you just have to roll your eyes and tell yourself “that’s just X being X again…”. And say the Serenity prayer often.

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        • Yeah. I have also kept two things in mind — one being that my perspective is a suddenly altered one because I am compelled to spend too much time with him, the second being that he does have a right to his own rehabilitation and if what he wants is to skip it that is his choice. The rub comes in just because decisionmaking and impulsivity are skills / attributes affected by the kind of stroke he had.

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  13. I hope your first of school has gone well. Mine when ok, lots of info to take in but not last year were I had to wonder what I had got myself into. The only thing that could have been better is my computer would have not died two weeks before with my son in Japan. Since he is IT I wanted him to pick me out a new one. No internet at the apartment last night so got one ordered tonight. Using my oldest sons at the apartment since he works nights. My husband and youngest son came to visit today and made us supper so that was nice, this year no student apartments and that is great because it is quiet and easy to study with my middle son.

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    • How did your son like Japan?

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      • He really liked Japan and made some good friends from the US and Japan. There where 150 US staff and they pick the top one from the college group, he came in #2 with his friend #1 who he met over there. His friend also is from Wisconsin. They have asked him to come back next year, he would like to but is waiting to see how the school year goes. He is going to make a dish he saw made there this week at the apartment. The best ramen comes from a small shop that seats five. Maruchan don’t cut it these days because the noodle is made different. He is also planing working overseas also. I am not surprised since I know I put the traveling bug into him. I was seven months pregant with him when I traveled to England I wanted to go while I had a chance and well I have not been able to go back.

        He also fixed my broken Mac after I bought a new computer. It took him a hour. Well I have a spare as I am using the Mac now. I still can’t get over the fact that Apple could not help me. I spent a hour on the phone with them and he comes home and just like that fixes it. Well I didn’t spend the $630.00 + to fix this one just spent it on a new one. We will see which one I like better in time, but all my school info and Word is on the Mac so easier to work with it at this time. Well he is going into the right field. His brother who taught him computers to start with now comes to him for help.

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  14. Good luck!

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  15. I wish you “Bonne Rentrée”!
    Just for fun:

    https://www.dna.fr/education/2015/01/17/profs-d-histoire-en-premiere-ligne
    http://www.laclassededavidnoel.com/2017/09/c-etait-la-rentree.html

    Liked by 2 people

  16. Wishing you a wonderful semester!!! Just got news today that I am finally tenure track in our HS. So…you and I will be similarly engaged in keeping phones “off and away” while engaging minds. ✌😉

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  17. Exciting start to the semester!! This is my first time back in a brick and mortar classroom in over a year – feels a little weird actually. Students seemed engaged – they even all laughed at my standard pheasants/peasants proofreading joke 🤓

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  18. I am once again late the the party, but I hope you had a good start and a bunch of interested students!!!

    Liked by 1 person

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