Thursday, May 5, 2011

My (official) job

I teach writing for the University of Utah.  More accurately, I teach at a charter high school that is partners with the U of U--so the U pays my salary, but I teach high school seniors.  And here's the thing:

I love my job.

I'm at school for one-and-a-half hours every other day to teach a single class, and while my income is supplemental, it's enjoyable to earn.  My students are creative, intelligent, and kind, and they inspire me every time I teach.  I've taught at the Academy for Math, Engineering, and Science (AMES) for three years now, and even though I liked teaching at the U during my Master's program, the enthusiasm and culture of my AMES students makes me happy.

So today we talked about Henry David Thoreau's "Walking."  And my students--they pointed out so much, like his discussion on race, his views on camels and birds and squirrels, his opinions about the East and West, the sky imagery he associates with America, the way his essay ends in a beautiful sunset and sauntering and death and the Holy Land...

Anyway. they noticed a lot.  And I love that I can listen, and learn, and watch them analyze and argue and joke.  Of course there are a few who may be bored, or defensive, but when I'm in the middle of a class discussion I focus on the engaged portion of the class (which includes 95% of everyone anyway)--and I make myself available for those bored/defensive students to talk with outside of school (usually there's something going on that doesn't involve my teaching at all).  I still need to grade today (blah) and write (hooray?).  I just wanted to say--well, I love my job.  And my students.

I'll have to tell some student stories later.  But on Teacher Appreciation Week (I didn't know I'd get appreciated until I got cards and cookies and pizza today!), I'd like to say that I appreciate my job (and I REALLY admire those teachers who teach full time--one class is enough for me right now, what with all the children and writing and not letting my house explode...).

But yay.  Yay students!  Yay teachers!  Yay AMES and the U and Thoreau!

Good old Thoreau!  I love teaching your difficult-but-amazing "Walking" essay...

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