Using My Skills for as Long as I Can

I am returning to teaching! I interviewed yesterday with the community college in my new town, and I was accepted as a part-time professor, starting in the Spring. I am beyond happy! I am ecstatic!

I have so missed interacting with students and inspiring, encouraging, and motivating them to do their best. I have wanted to be back in the classroom since about six months after I retired. So, this is a great opportunity to use my teaching skills once again. Since I was age 12, I have felt teaching was what I was born to do.

I enjoyed retirement for about six months! I learned that you have to really think about what you will do after retirement, especially in regards to still serving the world, if that is important to your mental health. I have dealt with some health issues, and I will have to be careful to not overdo, as that is my tendency.

Douglas told me yesterday that I must “slow my roll” and not turn a part-time position into a full-time one, balancing my needs and the needs of my students for my help. He has valid concerns, as the last time I taught part-time, I managed to work over 50 hours a week!

As a part-time professor, I was not assigned a teaching assistant, so I had to do my own grading. And because I don’t believe that students can learn sociological concepts without writing, I don’t do multiple-choice exams, even though they are much easier to grade.

I prefer to know that I have taught my students how to write, not just how to choose between four answers, or, more to the point, guess between them. Having spent 23 years in corporate America before I became a college professor, I know that employers are looking for problem solvers, not people who simply mimic the messages of professors.

I had a student who was the first member of his family to go to college. He didn’t understand how college worked. One day, he said, “We pay you money, but we have to do all the work!”

I responded somewhat like this, “The product that I am selling is how to think. That is what you are paying for when you come to college. The only way that I can ensure that your parents are getting their money’s worth is to assign you writing assignments that let me know if I have been successful. Otherwise, you could go on the Internet and buy a degree that doesn’t require any of your time or any effort, but many employers probably wouldn’t accept it.”

He became an A student, once he understood why he had to “work” and the benefits of learning to write whole sentences and paragraphs that flowed from thought to thought in an orderly manner and with logic. It is a joy to my soul when I see a student advance from being unable to articulate what they have learned to becoming amazing communicators.

I write on their papers, “You rock! I am so proud of this essay, and you should be also!” I actually wrote a note on every essay that was turned in to me. One astonished student asked, “You really read them [their papers]?” I told her that indeed I read them all carefully, as this was my way of honoring the fact that they had completed the assignment.

You can probably feel my elation with teaching. I love it, or as my great-grandchild would say, “I yove it!” It is my way of helping the world to be a better place! I not only touch the lives of my students in the classroom, but, if I have taught them well, I will also touch the lives of the people they come in contact with outside the classroom.

And isn’t that why God gave us all different talents and skills, so that we can be the change in the world that we want to see? I can tell from your blog posts that many of you had some great teachers who taught you to think and write. I experience it every day!

Ragtag prompt is Mimic. Word of the Day is Careful. Daily Addictions prompt is Happy.

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