Teacher tells you stop your play and get on with your work

4 10 2012

Oy, is teaching takin’ it out of me this semester. In a good way.

Last semester I taught 2 courses on Tues-Thurs and 1 course Mon-Wed. Which meant I was commuting from Brooklyn to the Bronx 4 days a week. Which sucked.

This semester I’m only commuting twice a week, which is nice for my back and my general attitude, and which also means I have time to work the unfortunately-necessary-second-job at a place I’ve worked on-and-off for years (in the Financial District, although not of the Financial District).

So, y’know, two days a week at school, two days (Mon & Fri) at the office, three days a week at home: easy-peazy, right? Ha.

The office job is pretty low-stress, but by 6pm on Thursday, I am DONE teaching. My voice is hoarse, the tip of my tongue for some reason numb, my hair is askew (okay, my hair is often askew), and I am covered in chalk dust. I’m not sure how or why I get chalk dust everywhere, but I do.

Have I mentioned I’m really enjoying this semester?

My American govt students are bit quiet, but they are generally attentive and ask good questions, and they do have their moments. Things get livelier in my bioethics course, with students popping up with comments and questions and what-ifs and, most importantly, they’re right there when it comes to the implications of biotechnologies.

And then my contemporary political issues class. Man. This is full of high-schoolers from a number of schools in the Bronx who trek on to campus to take college courses. I had a bit of bummer experience with a similar group of students spring semester—they would not fucking participate—but this group, whoo, this group requires me to shout and wave my arms and signal like Bruce Willis near the end of Die Hard 2 trying to bring the plane in a for a safe landing. (Or am I misremembering that, too?)

Anyway, it’s not really a good thing that the class is so unruly, but in a course like this, where they really do have to participate, I’d rather have them too into it than not at all. This is the first time I’m teaching this course, so I’d expect that next semester I’ll have a better handle on how things should go, but in the meantime, I’m enjoying how willing they are to mix it up.

I just need some more damned coffee. And throat lozenges.