Wednesday, April 06, 2011

White screen, white text

[Note: The following is a 10-minute freewrite, performed with my monitor turned off, in order to prevent me from editing. This explains the typos.]

I know what it is that's getting to me. I'm becoming, I feel, something I don't want to be, as a teacher, and I'm resisting it, but it's hard.

I have to absolutely hav ewto know where it is my students stand; I have to keep tabs on their progress, I have to know what it is they know and don't know at any time. It's why I strongly resist automatically graded homework (which I know has some advantages). It's why I teach much more slowly than most of my colleagues, many of whom fly through material without stopping to ask if everyone's on board before the boat leaves the shore.

It also means that I'm painfully aware at every step when someone doesn't understand what's going on.

Don't get me wrong, I'm glad about this: I'd rather people get it than not. But it means that I'm much more intimately invested in my students' learning than I woudl be otherwise; I feel much more connected them, much more "in the trenches." When they get frustrated, I get rustrated, and when they check out, I get more frsutrated still (you were right, yesterday, by the way...but my frsutration isn't with you, it's with me...why cCAN'T I just let go?).

This semester is the worst.I know it, I feel it: it's the worst. And not just for me. Everyone's stressed, eeveryone's tired, and everyone's angry. Everyone's taking it out on each other, with tempers short and sniping and grousing in every class.

It hasn't helped that I've not been around. I don't think my absence (freuent absence) the last few weeks...I don't know if it is itself toblame for any of the ennui, malaise, or ill will in any of my classes (I don't think so)...but I feel...I FEEL absent. I feel "not there." I don't like feeling that way.

I want you to kno wthat I haven't checked out. I'm still here.

I think I've become too much of an "administrator" this semester (something I blogged about a bit ago). Enough so that when I'm not in the classroom, there's a bit more distance than I'd like there to be. I only feel it (or at least feel it most acutely) when I'm sitting with my students in the math lab when I'm in the math lab working with them on one or another problem in Calc II or some kind of of problem for 280...that's when I feel it, because it's then that I realize that THAT'S where I need to be. Not on the road, talking about how to be a good teacher, but in the classroom, actually BEING a good teacher. In the Math Lab, helping students struggle with the most basic concepts. Not...I don't know.

I don;'t know.

I overbooked myself....I don't likw this.

What's up for next semester?

I'm off of the writing intensive committee...I'm ff of ILSOC. I'm stepping back (or at least I'll try to) from the leadership of the Sectional Project NExT. I've already shuffled off the coil of Supoer Saturday (if I'd had to deal with that this semester I'd have gone insane). I should be freer.

The book won't be coming out until early in 2012, I'm guessing, which means I won't have to do a lot of hobnobbing and hooliganism to tout that thing.

I'll have time to settle back in the center, where I belong. I've got to come home. I'm getting tired of this.

I need to be somwhere that I'm not.

I'm getting tired of this. I'm tired.

And it's not you, it's not me, it's all of us. We'rd tired.

I realize how repetitive this post must sound, given the frequent similar posts I've written in the past few weeks, but there it is. It's what some would call a thpattern.

There it is.

Here we are.

Let's try to make the best of the rest of the term.


Anonymous said...

I wish we had more professors like you! Your plan sounds good, and it sounds like it would make you happier- which is great! If you're happier and more relaxed, you can give more to your students, and be the breath of fresh air in the class when everyone's stressed out. You are not to blame for the current snappiness in your classes, but relaxed professors are able to raise morale. I wish you best of luck with the rest of the semester, and look forward to reading about your accomplishments next semester and always.

Esraa said...

Thought it would be helpful to identify myself (posted above). An old student of yours, and a current grad student- I appreciate your honesty and love your blog! :)