Sometimes in undergrad (and even in grad school a few times) I felt like my professors maybe weren't putting their all into their work. Little did I know the feelings of rejection when a student doesn't show up for one class or how disappointed you are when there is whispering during a group presentation. Or the feelings of earnestness when the class seems tired and you really want them to be passionate about the topic of the day. If I could go back to undergrad I would attend every class instead of skip a few times when it was sunny. Teaching is emotional.
I love it. Today I turned in my grades for my 263 students. The break down went like this:
Supposedly there is a scale somewhere in the teaching methodology world where your grades are supposed to form a curve and be decently even. I don't believe in that, however, as an oral English teacher. TESOL requires so much dedication on the part of the student that I tend to reward hard work rather than ultimate skill level. Grading in this way requires that I not only look at numbers to assess their levels, but also know each student and their desire to learn, their efforts involved over the last 17 weeks together in room 105. (geez these semesters are long). So students who make an effort to know me, who show me that they are working on their oral english as a means for their future tend to get higher grades. It's just the way the cookie crumbles. (idiom alert!)
I love the bond I have with these kids. (well, they aren't kids, but they act like it). I am glad that after a semester they understand how my expectations are different than the other Chin.ese professors. They get nasty looks if they are late and walk in the front door. They get chalk thrown at them if they doze off in class. I am not afraid to kick someone out if they are annoying the heck out of me (only happened once this semester). They are respectful, kind, and generally fun to be around. They know that I know they are busy. They know I understand what it is to be a college student, and that my expectations are rational. They must work hard but still understand that there is more to each of them than grades, test scores, or hours spent in the computer lab.
I expect them to be high caliber modern day individuals who have a chance at changing the path of their country and creating a more "outside world" friendly society. I expect them to stand up against the cultural habits of cheating, paying money to get ahead, and treating women as less able than men. I expect them to be able to hold free-flowing social conversations. To ask questions and answer questions and be sociable and not painfully awkward with people who are not Chin.ese.
I expect them to succeed.
And as my grades ended up...they are meeting my expectations. I'm a proud teacher.
In other news, I applied for my diploma today and have officially had my masters degree posted as received in December, 2009. Holla Class of '09! The graduation ceremony is not until May and I will not be attending because of my current location. It kind of stinks to not get the robe, the pictures, the family gathering...but I guess the pomp and circumstance is not necessary. My life is enriched because of the journey to the degree and that is what matters.
I miss being a teacher and a student. Now I'm just a teacher. That's weird. It's like I have to be a big girl now. Hmmm....time to apply for more school.