Despite teaching an overload this quarter, I’m actually enjoying it. I like my students. We’re a small department, so we’re close with all of our students. It’s one of the things we pride ourselves on. If I hear of a sports internship, I know immediately who to call to tell about it. If it’s a job opening in a town 30 minutes away, I know all our graduating seniors to tell.
At the beginning of a new quarter, with a new class, however, there are always a few names that I have trouble matching with their faces – ESPECIALLY if the student in question doesn’t speak or ask questions or really stand out in class. Now, if the student does something completely wrong, like sleeping in class (which happened today), I quickly learn his/her name because I’m yelling it (which also happened today).
In my 101 class, I have 13 new, unfamiliar faces among the few I do know. I learned the majority of the students the first day when we did an icebreaker, but as it was the first day, about 1/3 of the class didn’t show up. And that’s just bad on them. Because on the first day, I learned some very interesting things about my students. One used to be a dog trainer. One did a story about a tattoo parlor and ended up getting a tattoo (which her parents don’t know about, ha!). One is from Seattle. Two played sports in college.
This is why I love where I teach: I get to actually know the individuals I teach. It’s not a super big campus, and I don’t have enormous classes where everyone is an ID number instead of a name. I see these kids grow throughout college. In fact, (TEAR!) my first freshmen class I taught when I came on board just graduated this past year. It was a bit bittersweet. I miss those kiddos.
But there are always new ones to teach, new ones who will come into my office, new ones to read in our school newspaper. As long as I learn their names first. =)