Teaching was really never something I wanted to pursue, and it was the last job I thought I’d ever have. When my boss told me I was his newest Adjunct, I was floored. I didn’t go into his office with the idea of being an adjunct. I wanted to tutor writing, but I ended up in the classroom. What totally surprised me was really simple. I love being in the classroom. I love teaching. I love connecting with student’s and their writing. I love watching a student’s writing improve and that student comes into his/her own with their writing. That alone is one of the best things about being in front of the classroom.
Standing in front of 24 students was intimidating at first. Now for me, that intimidation is gone, and I look forward to each new semester. Walking into the classroom that first day of class is a highlight of each semester. Witnessing students see how their writing improves with each paper is nothing short of joyful for me. Presenting the class and the work required is fun, especially when I hear groaning, and hands are raised wanting to ask questions that I’m about to answer. Read the syllabus, turn papers in online, there are specifications for an excused absence etc., etc. All of this and more happened at the beginning of this last semester, but what I learned was far more important.
This last semester started out pretty much normally. I had 3 great classes of ENG101, and I couldn’t ask for better students. Then a wrench was thrown into the class field, and that was an eight-week ENG101 class. My boss came into my classroom on a Tuesday, which made me a little nervous, and he did not look upset, so that was a good thing. This was the very first time he had ever come into my class. The first thing I thought when I saw him, was what did I do. Turns out he just asked if I would take a 4thclass. Now, I have never said “no” to him, and I certainly did not start on this Tuesday. I took the class, and then the panic set in. Previously I condensed an ENG091 into 8 weeks, but I was a bit lost on how I was going to do this to an ENG101. I knew then, I had to seek some advice from some of the residential faculty.
Once I figured out I needed help, I went to a professor and asked what did he do with his 8 week classes. He, in turn, sent me his class. Everything I could possibly need he sent to me, and he sat down with me and explained how it all worked. So I took what he gave me and went about teaching the curriculum. What I found during the 8 weeks of teaching his stuff was I was a lot different in my approach to the class. Now I still use his format, but a lot of the assignments are created by me. This is something I believe is unique to my school. Being an Adjunct has its downfalls. There are times an adjunct can feel left out of the loop with instruction information. Amazingly this doesn’t happen for me. At any time I know I can go to a faculty member and get help and encouragement. When I just do not have a great understanding of something, I seek help from the faculty, and the help that was given was more than I could ask for. The success of this semester was, in part, because of the residential faculty and their advice and encouragement. The students were the other half of the success of the semester.
I have had some really good students. Not all of them wanted to be in my class. Not all of them turned in all of their work on time, and not all of them finished with a C or better. BUT I enjoyed every single student that walked through the doors of my classrooms. They definitely were not perfect, but all of them were in my class, therefore, I wanted them to succeed. My day always seemed to get brighter once I walked into any one of the 4 classes I taught. I wonder how many will follow me into ENG102? Time will tell, and I hope they are ready for 102, because from my point of view it is not going to be easy. Cannot wait!!