13 May 2010

thinking about teaching adults

Currently, I am auditing a class (attending without paying for the class) an adult class in the Bridge program at SNU. I can see, already, that this is going to be a very new and different way of going about things. During the first class, the instructor gave the students time to talk to one person and introduce themselves and tell their favorite movie (the class is American Cinema); the interesting thing was that the students talked for 10 minutes! There was actually discussion! So, I take it that adults, even if they don't know each other, will talk to one another! Woo-hoo! I love it! This I can do. For some reason it seems that this year my students have been very hard to engage in discussion. Maybe it's me. Maybe I'm slipping in the presentation of the material. If you don't know me, I tend to feed off of the energy of the students. I can be very animated in class. I start out with a pretty good amount of energy, but if the students just sit there like a bunch of statues, I tend to slow down considerably. All of that to say, I am so happy to find that the adults are going to be a more lively bunch!

The class I am slated to teach is Earth's Natural Disasters. It is exactly what it sounds like: Earthquakes, Fires, Floods, Hurricanes, Volcanoes, Plate Tectonics, and how these all affect the Human Population. Suhweet! I get to teach stuff about which I am interested! I'm telling you people, it doesn't get any better than this. However, it's really easy to sit here, hiding in the back of the classroom while someone else teaches the class. (BTW, this instructor is really good even though its the first time she has taught this class; her teaching prowess shows because even though she says she is anxious, it doesn't show).

Honestly, I am pretty nervous about teaching. I can't even imagine standing in front of a class for four hours and actually engaging students and causing learning to occur for that long. Yikes. Fortunately, I have several months to get ready (my class runs for 5 weeks in August and September) and someone else has already taught the class before. I'm hoping there is a Moodle course somewhere that I can work on adapting to fit my objectives. Hmmm. My objectives. Not the P.A.S.S., not the district curriculum map. I know, its not my objectives. Its the objectives set forth by the administration of Southern Nazarene University. But it is my interpretation of these objectives. I suspect they are open to a greater interpretation on my part than they are in public education. Although, I did learn last night that I am entitled, as a teaching professional, to academic freedom. I'd honestly never thought about that until last night. I've been exercising the right, I just hadn't thought of it.

So, I just wanted to share with you how grand my life is right now:

  1. I get paid to do something I love, which is teaching.

  2. I get to teach students with whom I can relate.

  3. I am privileged to mentor the best students at SNU through my role as a class sponsor.

  4. The school year is almost over and I get to spend even more time with my family.

  5. During the summer, I also get to think about my favorite stuff: teaching science!

I dare you to say your life is better than mine.

I'll leave you with this question (which if you know me, you will understand): how am I going to integrate technology into my adult classroom?

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