It is official: I am a professor again! I will start on January 5, 2020 teaching once again. I had some reservations about returning to teaching, mostly because it’s been two years since I last was in front of a classroom of students.
Do I still have the passion to teach? Will the students think me too old to teach? Have I any deep and profound lessons to impart? Can I still make a difference? Will my stories and the stories used to define terms and concepts still be meaningful? These are questions that have bothered me, leaving me with a lot of light sleeping.
Then, over the last few weeks, I have received messages through LinkedIn from several former students. They wanted to know how I was doing and where I was living now. To be thought of in the hearts of people I taught four and five years ago means so much to me.
One is working on her doctorate, and another has earned her Masters. A third one is a teacher! They thanked me and said that the lessons I taught them were still instrumental in their lives. I am not bragging, believe me!
It’s just that I am a person who needs to know that I am making a difference in the lives of others. My students mean the world to me, and reading of their successes brings me such elation! It is like experiencing the fruits of one’s labor. Of course, I don’t take the credit for their triumphs, for it is their determination and strong work ethic that have gotten them thus far on their journeys.
But, hearing from the students was like an answer to my prayers to God. I wanted confirmation that I was making the right decision to return to the classroom, especially as my 68th birthday is the last Sunday in this month. I hope to teach until I am in my middle 70’s, as long as I am healthy and contributing, and not just taking up space.
Three of my former colleagues who wrote my recommendations sent me emails stating that they were glad that I was going back into the classroom, and that they believed students would profit from my knowledge base and teaching style.
For me, hearing from former students and staying connected to them, as well as the wonderful affirmations of my former colleagues, three of whom were chairs of the departments I taught in, have been like hearing God say, “This is my plan for your life.” I am so glad that prayers are still heard and answered.
So, I have started preparing for my return, reading articles in scientific journals and finding free sociology textbooks that are of good quality, as I don’t want my students to have to spend hundreds of dollars for books that they will use only for 15 weeks. We have to find ways to make college affordable and relevant.
So, I may not post as much as I usually would, as I work toward preparing a syllabus for my classes. Also, thanks to one former student that I saw a few months ago who wanted to know if I had written my stories in a book that she would definitely buy, I am going to start sorting my stories into a possible book project. I was amazed that she still remembered the stories!
Psalm 32:8 states, “I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go; I will counsel you with my loving eye on you.” I will teach at a community college, which is new for me, and I look forward to interacting with and helping students learn so that they can fulfill the plans that God have for their lives, with a loving eye and so much joy!