Thursday, December 07, 2006

for what it's worth, it was worth all the while

The semester is winding down. There's a frantic scramble amomng some students to catch up with last minute details, while others have worked ahead and can calmly anticipate the exam. The quiet kids (why is it always the quiet kids?!) are coming out of the woodwork to say that they love my class and what will I teach next semester?

(No clue.)

The bottom feeders and ankle biters are trying to rouse my sympathies, patience and indulgence, sometimes indulgences.

I love the seasonal aspect of teaching. We build up to mid-terms, rest for a moment, then race to exams, before collapsing into the wonderful holiday embrace, be it Christmas or the fun of summer vacation. A series of sprints, in a sense, I suppose, but it's also a long-distance trek. Long after my young 'uns have returned home or started logging extra hours at work, I will be reading and reading their final work, calculating and recalculating their grades.

It's rare for me to be satisfied, but I am satisfied with this semester. Remind me again how having a Ph.D. would make it any better?

OK, job security - but other than that? I have done well and so have they.

7 comments:

John B. said...

Lemming:

I have always said that you are a born teacher...PHD be damned...you have the fire to teach, plain and simple.

Anonymous said...

Spot on, John B.

harriet said...

What they said. As far as I can tell, the Ph.D. seems to be a lot of time and aggravation preparing to be a scholar who is supposed to spend as little time as possible thinking about teaching. And I'm not sure I'm comfortable with that.

Bartleby said...

I also enjoy the seasonal rhythms of the academic calendar. It always seemed appropriate to me that we got to the chapters concerning heat transfer and thermodynamics at the same time fall was turning into winter. And then there's the rituals: I used to bake cookies for my students for distribution at the final exam. I guess I'll be resuming that custom next May, knee willing.

Anonymous said...

Having a PhD doesn't make it any better...but there is that personal satisfaction thing.
Jeanne of the rural highways

Anonymous said...

Having just gotten your Christmas letter in which you say that your advisor informed you that you wouldn't be graduating this year "or ever," I'm chagrined at my earlier comment and also skeptical. I think you informed yourself of that, which is fine. It might be the right choice--as long as you feel you made it, and not some moron who doesn't appreciate you.
Jeanne of the rural highways

Anonymous said...

Having just gotten your Christmas letter in which you say that your advisor informed you that you wouldn't be graduating this year "or ever," I'm chagrined at my earlier comment and also skeptical. I think you informed yourself of that, which is fine. It might be the right choice--as long as you feel you made it, and not some moron who doesn't appreciate you.
Jeanne of the rural highways