Back to the Classroom

This semester has involved going back to the future for me, specifically in my teaching a college course for the first time in 14 years.

I was nervous at first. 14 years is a long time! It is like riding a bike—you don’t completely forget. But I felt like I needed training wheels. I had to learn not only the course material, but also how to use Canvas, our learning management system, a quantum leap technologically from the olden days.

What’s more, I’m teaching first year students  in the required course “Leadership 101”, which paves the way for an extended curriculum in leadership for the upper class years.

Of course, as a college president, I meet and talk with students regularly. Dealing with this cohort in class has proved a different matter entirely. It has been as much a learning experience for me as for my students, starting with the reality that I need to be very explicit about assignment requirements and what happens to late submissions.

I have to remind myself that these students are 18 years old with limited experience to draw upon, so I need to be thoughtful about the types of questions I ask and to be realistic in my expectations. I’ve also been reminded about the joys and frustrations of dealing with folks who have varying levels of motivation and personal/professional goals.

At the same time, I am very impressed with the poise and professionalism of our first-year students. They seem comfortable speaking in class and have developed and delivered effective presentations. I find these students are very articulate and able to lay out coherent and compelling arguments.

I admit that it has been difficult layering in this extra day of work per week on top of an already more than full-time job. But I’m enjoying this second job. I hope that my students are as well. I feel like I’m getting my groove back.

Canvas and I are even getting along a bit better now as well.

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