how my health has changed me

11Apr15

Behind again… first week of classes (and teaching something new) along with husband’s birthday! Time moves so fast–I’m always thinking I have a few more posts saved for all of you, and then I check to see how far behind I am–ack!

Once upon a time, when I was a New Teacher almost 15 years ago, I had a passion to help the students who worked and were passionate just like me. I taught mostly the majors’ classes, because I knew they were as committed as I was. There are always some slacker students in a class, and I just. didn’t. get. them. I also had no sympathy for them. What was going on? What was up with them?

Over the years, students still seeming like they want to nod off in class. I am a very dynamic lecturer. Heh–ask anyone who’s seen me! (I had to ask a student this morning who’s had me for a few classes–I don’t make you dizzy, do I?) These days, I teach in a neighborhood where many students work long hours as well as going to school. (Interestingly, these aren’t the students who are late with their assignments; those with the busy schedules seem to have their organization together.)

But when I started dealing with MS, and other surgeries, and other medical issues… my empathy increased. I became a kinder, gentler instructor. I still held strict to my deadlines (no late assignments!) but I started feeling for the students who needed a little extra help. I saw a part of myself in those students.

As time progresses, however, I’m regressing back toward the mean. After dealing with the large number of cheaters just a few weeks ago at the end of winter quarter, my sympathy level has started to decrease. That said, at this point in life, when I see a listless student, rather than writing them off immediately as “not caring” as I did at the beginning of my career, I want to know their story. Maybe they’re out partying and don’t care. But maybe there really is something holding them back from top performance.

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