(going through all my old blog posts from years ago is proving to be a revelatory and depressing activity – what in the hell was WRONG with me then??)
When I was a kid – an eye-rolling opener to ANY anecdote – I used to pour water down this little ant hole right outside our house and wait for the denizens to come scurrying out. I was always amazed by the organized chaos and the hierarchy of those with wings, those carrying larva, those trying to find an enemy to fight, and those with no purpose other than to wander.
That is one reason I became a teacher and why I enjoy the process of teaching. Enjoy is too weak a word, I LOVE it. I should clarify that I love teaching college, live and in person – a brief stint teaching high school assured my assumption that it is NOT the arena for me.
As a college teacher I love poking and prodding my students – treating the classroom like my own ant farm – undespotically, that is. Pouring water into their comfort zones and seeing what comes forth in the skittering. I love getting them to voice their prejudices and biases, to make them proud of their opinions, even if they might not be popular, in an effort to make sure they practice understanding even if they can’t accept . And I am a bit of a mental voyeur wanting to peek in on both the surface and the hidden thoughts of those people sitting in the desks – people who for four years in high school were sometimes taught what to think not that they COULD think.
Tonight, however, I was shocked – something that is rare for me to experience after 10 years of having been there and done that. I am not sure if the lack of a live classroom has led me to feel this way, but I am in love with the two classes I teach at a local college. They are amazing human beings with so much potential – even when it tends itself to aggravation. They make it enjoyable to teach, even when they frustrate the hell out of me in their procrastination and urban apathy.
What I most love about them is their ability to digress from one topic to so many others while remaining cogent and aware and introspective. Tonight, a digression became a full-halt when one of them came out to the class in an effort to deal with her frustration of the opinions being offered against gay marriage and adoption (which, strangely enough, was a digression from dealing with weight subcultures). A couple of opinions were on the side of the notions being wrong, and screwed up, and messing up children who have to deal with trying to explain having two mommies or two daddies – essentially what are now antiquated ideas and antedeluvian religious broo-haa-ha. I was completely amazed by the student’s bravery to use herself as a way to silence and educate. At the end of the day, I don’t know if it worked to do anything other than force people into a muzzle, but my goal is to get them to understand and move past the “ick” factor to a deeper meaning outside of their personal preferences which may or may not be influenced by religious dogma.
Maybe I have become so cynical that I am approaching naivete and am making something out of nothing, but if nothing else I am enjoying finding the love of teaching again…and playing Devil’s Advocate.