Thursday, January 19, 2017

However it lasts

Right now, I've dropped back into a nice groove with teaching - I'm happy, I'm enjoying it, I like my students, I'm excited about the different subjects I'm covering.

Last fall, it wasn't so much. It got to be a grind and a drag and I was getting so sick of it I was wondering if I was burning out. (I guess not).

My thought is MMMMMAYBE it was those two almost back-to-back sections of the intro class, which were both pretty full, and which had the added stress for me (because things like this do stress me out) of "I need to keep them exactly on the same schedule; what do I do if I run out of time in Class 2 before I've covered all that I covered that day in Class 1."

I also have more labs in the spring - 3 rather than 1 - and even though it's more hours in class, labs are more relaxed.

Also, teaching new first-years in the fall is stressful and sometimes frustrating because the students don't quite know how to "college" yet, and while yes, it is part of my job to inculcate that knowledge, it's also frustrating when you've told someone multiple times about the "you need to notify me if you're going to be absent for an exam" and have someone not do that and then claim they didn't know. By spring, almost everyone, even the "new" people, has been here at least a semester and has a little bit more confidence and more of an idea as to what's going on.

Also, I just find I get more mature students in the spring. In some cases it's that they're grad students fixing a "deficiency" or rising seniors doing a last-minute major/minor change, or they're someone who just needs credit hours to graduate, or something, and there's less fear there.

And my classes are smaller. That's bad but also good. Bad because it's a bad trend (we've lost a few people each year and I could see us spiralling down to a point where it becomes non-viable) but good in the short term because I *like* small classes. You don't have that wall of eyes staring at you. And while public speaking really doesn't make me nervous, it does feel more comfortable and happy in a class of 16 (like my intro class right now) than 40 (what it was at the start of the fall).

Also, possibly I'm happier because it's not blazing hot outside, my allergies have abated as much as they ever do (despite cedar fever, which seems to be less for me than the grass allergies of the fall)

It's also just possible the change to my workout schedule (being able to sleep 'til 6 am if I need it and then working out AFTER school) helps. I know my stomach is happier and I wonder if some of the gastritis of last year was working out on an empty stomach, causing weird peristalsis or something and making my stomach try to "eat itself."

I don't know. I'll take it, whatever it is, for as long as it lasts for me right now.

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