Earlier this week, I didn't know how I was going to make it through June. I was having trouble keeping up with writing lectures, and feeling like I didn't know enough about WWII, and then in the midst of all my stress I got a computer virus and ended up wiping my hard drive.* And then ended up having more problems with re-installing everything, and making silly mistakes, and ended up wiping the hard drive about four different times until I got it right. Because, you know, in a week where you're hardly getting enough sleep and are buried under a pile of work, you have time to wipe your hard drive and re-install Windows and all your programs and drivers four times.
Earlier this week, I also felt like I was The Worst Teacher In Existence. I worried that I wasn't understanding the content well enough and that my students were not learning what they needed to learn, and maybe were regretting taking a class from a new instructor.
And then things started to change. By the end of the week, I had a couple of really good classes, and worked to make sure that I went back and reviewed the important stuff so that they understood. And I started finding little ways to get through to them; having a couple of discussion classes helped so that we could all get comfortable with each other.
It's nice having 35 students, and seeing them every weekday. I'm gradually getting to know each student, and each student's particular learning needs and styles. I'm learning how to communicate differently with the science majors and the English majors, and how to get each of them to understand how a historian researches and learns.
And now? I love my students. They're all so eager to understand everything and to do well. They approach me before class, because they found a neat source and wanted to show me how cool it is. They send me emails about colorized footage that they found on Youtube. They humour me when I make them watch clips of Casablanca at the beginning of their discussion class, and laugh at the right parts.
I felt so proud when I saw the student that told me she was too shy to speak up in discussion class make a real effort and take charge of her discussion group. I get excited when I watch them all become friends, and watch as a class dynamic develops.
At this rate, I think I'm really going to miss them after the course is over.
* By the way, thanks to Laptopocalypse 2011, I finally ditched McAfee, which was useless and then so very user-non-friendly after I wiped my hard drive. I read a million reviews and have now switched to ESET, and I love it so much that I want to write about it in all-caps and many exclamation points all the time. Half the price of McAfee! And apparently it's amazingly effective! And it runs so quietly in the background! Why the heck did I stay with McAfee for all those years? Seriously, after the week I had, if I could hug a security suite, I would hug ESET.