Friday, May 06, 2011

When one door closes...

5.5.2011: In my office calculating my students' final grades
In a couple of weeks my office door on campus will close for the last time, and my role as college instructor will end for now. I consider it a temporary change of direction, as I expect to teach again in the future, but there's still a bittersweet feeling to the close of this chapter in my professional career.

Four years ago I joined a team of graduate instructors teaching classes about strategies for college success. The courses have existed at the university for decades, probably saving thousands of students from academic armageddon. Although this was not my first teaching job, it felt weird teaching some of the course topics, since I was not particularly proficient in all of them myself.  Eventually I got to the point where I saw my own academic abilities improve as a result of teaching the subjects to my students.

Professionally I cannot think of any job I've held that has been this rewarding. So why am I leaving if I love it so much? Most instructors for these particular courses teach for up to two or three years. After that we run the risk of becoming stale or feeling less challenged from teaching the same material over and over. As a result of these past four years I feel much more confident as an instructor and an academic professional. My final class this past Wednesday was probably the best group of students I've ever had the privilege to teach. I consider myself terribly blessed to be ending on such a positive note.


Anonymous said...

It would've been fun to take your class but I would have also found a way to intersperse a pontification of Brian Wilson (of the Beach Boys) finishing his college degree circa 1965, sans Murry. Nevertheless, you should consider teaching a non technical rock n roll appreciation course.

Jeff said...

Anonymous -

Thanks for your comment! I would totally love to teach a course on the historical & cultural impact of rock n roll, from the Beatles to Nirvana. Eventually I will start asking the who's & what's about proposing such a course. I think this would be so much fun to teach!

Anonymous said...

Jeff, that would be great. You are more than qualified. As you very well know let your search skills dredge for peers who are already teaching similar courses i.e. peruse their syllabi. I think you'd be a wonderful cultural professor. Anyway. You seem to have been bitten by the disease bug called record collecting at a young age, me too! I found the website below called the Association of Recorded Sound Collections. Long story short, they recently put up mp3's of many of the presenters. I think you'd like Bruce Spizers, "How the Beatles Conquered the World"
Click "Past Conference Sessions Online", List of Available Recordings: under 2010.](Ironically their conference starts today in L.A.)
one flaw I heard in Spizer's presentation is a lack mention of the nations state of mind as a result of the Kennedy assassination. Possibly a big factor with Capitol timing campaign to the youth at that time. Yet Spizers' Vee Jay presentation is interesting, didn't know - Vee Jay was partial to the harmonica (From Me to You, Please Please Me). However, take a listen to some of the presentations they are edifying. Keep up the great blog!