I have been thinking about things I’ve learned through a course I took in grad school. The professor died at a relatively young age a few years ago, but he did leave a lasting impression. An impression that changed what I thought of him as a professor and what I learned.
The first day of class I thought great a liberal Obama lover. He hadn’t been elected yet, I wonder what he would think now, that aside; the professor asked us to write our “epitaph”. I had to look up the word!
He went on to talk about what was the legacy we wanted to be remembered for. I think he talked about how little our career accomplishments would matter in the end.
I wrote “loving wife and mother”. I can see in my mind what I wrote, but for the life of me I do not have that paper.
If my legacy is to be a loving wife and mother, why am I working so hard and long at being a good professor???
As of late, I find myself away from my family most evenings trying to get ahead in professorship, trying to expand academic scholarship. To what end? And at what cost?
The cost is to my family. I’m not one to give up on a career I love, but I must find balance to be that present and loving mother, the wife part I’m doing okay at.
So, tonight’s class at the university were I attended grad school and teach part-time, I’ve decided to slow down and not feel pushed and panicked I’m not getting the job done.
My goal had always been to make my course fun, enjoyable, and create a positive atmosphere. Last night where I regularly teach, I had fun, students were laughing, it was filled with antics and learning. I thought, I’m missing this in my other courses because I’m stressing too much about them. I’ve lost that purpose and its creating an unhappy set of students.
Tonight, I’m going back to what I do best, creating a place learning happens and it’s fun to be there, not a drag. It happens so intuitively and naturally in my course that I’ve taught for years now. I’m comfortable in the material and that is making the biggest difference.
The material is no different in tonight’s class, but the timeline is tighter and I’ve been feeling pushed. No more, we will get done what gets done and the rest; I’m sorry, I won’t get to, but it will be okay. The next course covers most of the end of this course in more detail.
Dr. S, may you rest in peace and thank you for reminding me what really matters. I hope you look down at the university and take pride in what you see.