Once a Teacher

16 May

By education I am a teacher. I started off wanting to do biology research, probably tracking the winter habits of some type of slug or snail. It was an unanswered question to a college professor who suggested it as a good research project. I received lots of those suggestions in my 4 years of undergraduate work but that is the only one that stuck. Later I worked in an avian leukemia research project at Oregon State University. It cured me of wanting to do research. I discovered that I was too social for such individualized focus.

I became a lab instructor at Linn Benton Community College and felt I had found my true calling. I loved watching the light in someones eyes when they got the concept I was explaining. It was addictive. Over the next 30 years I pursued many different jobs in many different industries but all had some element of trainer or educator included. For the last 12 years I have focused on teaching as a college professor. I have watched the light turn on for a number of students. Hopefully they enjoyed it as much as I did. I didn’t, however, have an opportunity to suggest that the answer to a student’s question might be a research project.

After my retirement, I become an online adjunct instructor. There have been no moments of knowing I’d hit the mark with an explanation although there have been a few emails to that effect. It is not the same. What I have is facing a computer to do my grading. Grading has always been my least favorite activity. I know that assessment is needed to know if students have grasped those essential concepts but that was what the light in the eyes was all about as well as discussions and questions. I’ve learned I would rather write than grade which is what I should be doing right this very minute. So I am not disappointed that I’m not on the Fall schedule. Maybe it is time to start a new blog or find a happy slug family to follow?

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One Response to “Once a Teacher”

  1. gramajan May 16, 2013 at 9:41 AM #

    If what you miss is seeing the light go on in a student’s eyes, then neither a new blog nor slug research is going to bring much satisfaction unless you can share them somehow. There must be some local opportunities to work with students, without a long-term commitment. Perhaps you could lead a research project with high school science students? Or volunteer for tutoring of some sort? It’s good you’re enjoying writing, but obvious you still want/need personal feedback. You might enjoy being part of a writing group, but that still won’t necessarily fulfill the need to teach.

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