And, I've got to say, I'm feeling very pleased. Very pleased, indeed. And not just because I'm done (or will be done tomorrow, for real).
The one course that I taught was one of the best I've taught ever. And what's so exciting was that the students thought so, too. Comments as they turned in their finals included thanks for making the class so fun, happiness that they stayed in the class even though they were afraid at first that I was expecting too much, the usual comments I get about how I made them see the point of poetry and enjoy it and there should be even more on the syllabus (which is totally weird as I'm not a "poetry person" and so I don't get why they love the way that I teach poetry so much, given the conventional wisdom that students typically hate poetry - and note, one of the poems that I teach is Pope's Eloisa to Abelard, so it's not like I'm teaching them a bunch of 4-line poems that they don't have to work to get), thanks for my enthusiasm and introducing them to stuff they'd never have picked up to read on their own....
Note, not a one of these students is a major. Most are in majors that are probably the exact opposite of an English major. And yes, I take more pride in the work that I do teaching these students than in preaching to the choir of students who already likes reading, who already likes writing. Ultimately, it means more, I think, the work that I do in courses like this. Not that I don't love teaching majors, which I do, but, well, they'd be into it even if I sucked - at least minimally. The thing is, a course without majors is a course that I've got to rock in. And I love the way that they inspire me to rock and the way that I have new ideas about how to bring material to students because of their perspectives.
You know, I've fought for a long time against the notion that I "belong" at an institution like this. But I totally, and happily, do. And I even belong not just at an institution like this but also at this particular institution. Thank god I fucking feel that - finally. It's been a long road coming to realize and accept that, not in the least because I had to learn to shut off those voices in my head of mentors and colleagues who told me that I could - should - "do better." You know what? I do awesome work here. I do better work as a teacher than I could possibly do at another kind of institution, and I do very good work as a scholar. So screw those voices in my head that say this shouldn't be where I am, that I'm better than where I am. No, the fact is, I'm great where I am. And that rules.
That's not to say I'll never go on the market again, but it won't be because of what other people think if I do. And it won't be because I could "do better." You know what? I think that what I do here is my absolute best. And I care about doing my best for these students.
I do have one student that I'm anticipating a grade challenge from (not from the Best Class Ever, but from the Other One), but I'm hopeful that I'm just being paranoid. If not, though, I've got a paper trail to support my position, and I'm not too worried about the outcome.
But so yeah, I'm feeling good, and I'm looking forward to finishing grading and to turning in grades tomorrow. I'm finally done, people!!!!! Summer teaching is for suckers. (And for people who are financial idiots who refuse to give up extras in order not to have to do summer teaching.)
2 years ago