Joe College

NLNRU’s undergrads have been moving in this week.  I think a lot of the first-years arrived today; campus was bursting with parents and fresh-faced eighteen-year-olds, slightly older students in “ASK ME” t-shirts and food services staff grilling burgers in tents.

I thought fondly of the SA students who will be starting college this fall, including those who will attend NLNRU.   (I only taught a handful of the class of 2010, in a junior elective in spring 2009, and I don’t think any of my actual students will be at NLNRU, but the day will certainly come; the students who are about to be seniors this fall were the freshmen I inherited in winter 2008, and I had about 50% of them, so eventually some kid I know pretty well is going to wind up at NLNRU.)

And I looked with sympathy upon the excited, anxious, bossy, helpless parents delivering their daughters and sons to the campus.  If all goes well, we will be in their shoes in the fall of 2017, and if that sounds like a long time from now, well, it is and it isn’t.  The Snork Maiden is about to enter sixth grade, and the students I’ll have in the ninth grade when school begins?  They were sixth graders when I began at SA.  And as I just said, the students I had in my first ninth-grade class are about to be seniors.  It’s all one long conveyor belt–or maybe not even that long.

It’s been two full years since I taught college undergraduates–my last college classes ended in spring 2008.  Since then, it’s been high-school students at SA and grad students at NLNRU.  It feels as though something has shifted in the way I look at college students.  I see them through the eyes of a high-school teacher, as former high-schoolers; I see them through the eyes of a parent, as someone’s almost-grown children.  I don’t see them as potentially my own students, though I do think about my grad students who are TAs and about the teaching discussions I would like to have with them this year. 

I guess I’ve assimilated the knowledge that I am not teaching undergrads anymore.  (My program doesn’t offer an undergraduate degree, so this isn’t a quirk of scheduling.)  Perhaps I will again, sometime in the future.  But it doesn’t seem to be in the cards for now, and for now, that’s more than OK.  I love the work I have.  It’s just odd that for so many years I thought that teaching college was what I would always do, and now it’s the stage that I’m straddling while I teach people before and after, but not in, the college years.


3 responses to this post.

  1. It’s an interesting shift in one’s perspective, isn’t it?

    I hope that you and Snork Maiden are excited about the new school year. Now, are you going to be part-time at both schools this year as last year?


  2. Posted by meansomething on August 19, 2010 at 5:37 pm

    Hi, WN?,
    It’s pretty much the same arrangement as last year. I will have one extra course at SA, a spring elective that I taught in ’09 but not in ’10. But my classes look smaller overall this year, so my grading load should be a bit lighter.


  3. I know what you mean–last year was my first year only teaching high school students, and now when I think of college, I think of writing rec letters and watching former students spread their wings. Sometimes I miss my college kids, especially the last adjunct job I had, but I don’t miss the juggling, and I’m thrilled to be where I am.


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