This day was the toughest one: my last day of classes. I fell in love with teaching from my first day in the classroom, despite having avoided teaching up to that point. So walking away from the classroom was hard. Hell, even thinking about it was hard.
The day was made easier by an unexpected email from my first office mate, now an emeritus professor himself, wanting to meet for coffee. He ended up hanging around for part of my 12:30 class, and entertaining them with a couple of stories while I ran around setting up and solving technical issues. Thanks, Vince. The student projects were satisfyingly good, even though the stupid classroom had more of its stupid audio problems. I would love to take a blowtorch to Tawes 0328; they need to start from scratch and do it right.
in my last last class, we did a simple mind mapping exercise while I played my "encouraging" playlist and they polished off the rest of my baked goodies. I wanted no part of a farewell speech or a formal good-bye, so I told them that when they finished uploading their mind maos, they were free to go. After a while, it was just Natasha, Eliece, and Dawson, then just Eliece and Dawson. And me.
Dawson has been reading this blog and asked if he could suggest a topic. Here's part of what he asked: What are three things I learned about myself by being a professor?
1. Like a shark that needs motion to breathe (or so I hear), I need teaching to learn. Most of what I have learned about writing and about research I have learned by teaching students to write and to do research. I worry about how I will learn "on my own" without my students.
2. I have good instincts, and can usually trust them. When I started teaching, I would script everything, absolutely convinced that if I didn't plan every phrase and every question, I would fail. But my best work has been improvisational, whether in a class discussion or mentoring a student one-on-one.
3. I once aspired to be a great lecturer. In fact, I thought you had to be a terrific speechifyer to be a professor. But that wasn't me, and never will be.