Thursday, June 15, 2006


I had meant, originally, to post every day here. Well, every working day, of course. But it got harder & harder. After all, it's one thing to free-write for oneself; it's another to free-write and hope people will read it.
But lately, what's holding me back is how busy I am.
My last entry mentioned that I'm teaching. I still love it, for some reason. I'm not as inspired, as euphoric, as I was, and I often feel like I could have done better, but there's something so satisfying in reading an introductory text, and pulling out the important information. There's something wonderful about being able to answer people's questions. There's even something to be pleased about when a student asks a question I can't answer: s/he has taken a step off the path that I'm following (but the class thinks I'm forging), and tentitively crept into new territory. My discipline is a "learn facts" discipline, rather than an "understand the text" discipline, so I don't have to worry about creating a conversation among the students. I am pleased with my ability, unexpected, to extemporize on a theme I know fairly well. I love watching the students become friends (although I could do without the talking in class). I love writing on the chalkboard, to further illustrate a point I make in the p0wer p0int.
On a vainer note, I love being called "Professor," especially as it comes with that illicit thrill of knowing that's not quite an accurate title. I also, apparently, love to talk (and if you knew me in real life, you'd know how odd that is.) I love that I got up in front of strangers and had nearly no stage fright. I love that I can look these strangers in the face (I rarely look anyone in the eyes, even the people closest to me.) I love that I have let go of my nervousness of looking dowdy and style-less; while it would be neat to be the cool professor, it's okay with me that I fit the mold instead of break it.
I gave my first exam today. It was the most nervous I've been for the entire "semester." I had no idea if it was too hard, too easy; I have no idea how much students are going to complain about their grades; I was afraid no one would finish it in time, that people would complain about it the instant the exam period was over.
But it wasn't as bad as I feared, standing up there at the chalkboard with the blank exams in my hand. Everyone had their own row, so there was much less opportunity for cheating. Almost everyone finished with time to spare. No one complained to me, or loudly to each other, about how hard the test was. And I enjoyed listening to the students cram before the exam. I even found some pleasure in the conversations I passed on the way out of the room about "Maybe she'll give partial credit for that."
I am no longer one of them. I am the teacher.


Blogger Kate said...

What a lovely post Ceresina! You completely captured the joys of teaching.

5:15 PM EDT  

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