I felt a bit sad after my class today. It really has been lovely being involved with these students in this way. The relationship between teachers and students is a unique one. I have been a student for most of my life (eek – eight years of university education), so it is nice to see the other side of the coin. It’s been such a privilege to watch them thinking, and to see them bring their own unique thought patterns and experiences to the classes. They’re so young and enthusiastic, and it’s pretty cool that so many people choose to do English degrees.
It’s been a learning experience as well, and I know there are things I can improve. I think next time I should make more of an effort to write things on the white board, for example – especially when I want to keep certain concepts in play. One of my clearest memories of my own undergraduate tutorials was about structuralism, and the tutor wrote lists on the white board of light/dark, man/woman etc. Discussion was flowing fairly smoothly in my class by the end, and most of them were talking to each other rather than just to me, and bouncing off each other’s ideas. Not quite all of them did, however, and I wonder if some more small group work would have helped a couple of them to integrate better. I hardly used small groups at all this time because it seemed to work so well without it. (I started to go into more detail there but thought better of it…)
Anyway they were absolutely great and it’s sad to see them go. One of the new lecturers in the department was saying the other day that academics always complain about having to squeeze research into the cracks between other commitments, but he felt that up till this year he’s always had to squeeze teaching into the cracks, and he’s loving being able to concentrate on it for a change. I definitely squeezed teaching into the cracks this semester, and it was necessary to do so. But I’m glad I was able to do it.