Teaching undergrads is my crack.

November 15, 2012

My grad students are interesting and smart. 
I like the content I’m teaching. 
I don’t even mind teaching them at hours
that I’m usually getting ready to doze off.
But here’s the thing:
Teaching undergraduate students is my crack.
One hit and I can’t get enough of it.

Yes, I know it’s more prestigious to teach in a graduate program.
And yet, I get off on interacting with smart young minds. Watching them get it.
Or watching them teach ME something new.

That’s the thing about undergrads:
they can teach me as much as I teach them.
Just in a different way.
And they challenge me in ways no one else can.
To come up with new and creative ways to engage them in the material.
To make class exciting and fun.
To make sure they leave the semester 
having learned the material and taken away something of value.
I’m lucky enough to teach at a school for smart young minds.

I’ve taught at one mega-university with tens of thousands of students.
One small university with less than 8,000.
Here, we have about 375 students, that’s all. 
It’s small, but it’s exceptional.
A teacher’s dream.
There IS no lowest common denominator because they are ALL scary smart.
It’s now mid-November. School will end soon.
It’s the same thing the second half of every semester: 
I start thinking about the fact that class will end
and the fun will be over.

Oh, I know I’ll have another class and other students equally as good. 
And maybe some of my current students will enroll in my next class.
But each class has its own personality 
and I come to care for each of these students, their projects and their lives.
It’s past midterm. 
In just a month the semester will end.
And I’ll be jonesing for another fix
of young minds.
I’m savoring the high of these last weeks.
It’s got to last me about a month,
’til school starts again.

Yeah, drawing on that pipe hard this month.

One comment on “Teaching undergrads is my crack.
  1. Cheri says:

    You’re a natural teacher!
    (from your future student 😉

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