Yesterday, I taught my first two sections of Career Development at Tucson College. My students are great; I'm so impressed by them. Many have worked so hard and made incredible sacrifices to be there. All of them, every single one, regardless of how academically inclined, is a winner.
Our textbook, Peak Performance: Success in College and Beyond
, lists the qualities of "peak performers" and it's clear to me that just by doing what it takes to get themselves enrolled and show up to class these students are already more than halfway there. My students have chosen to:
- Take responsibility for their futures (and for many of them, this means also acting as a role model for their children);
- To move outside of their comfort zones by taking on a new, and anxiety-provoking, challenge;
- To make sound judgments and decisions about what it takes to create a better future for themselves;
- To involve themselves in more positive relationships by getting to know instructors who will help mentor them and other students who are also striving to better themselves;
- To learn new skills and competencies;
- To have enough confidence in themselves that they are willing to challenge themselves by attending school, even though many of them have struggled with academics in the past;
- To overcome barriers to getting an education;
- To take the first of many steps toward their long-term goals
Have I mentioned recently how Absolutely AWESOME
my students are?
I am so impressed by these people, and I hope that I will be able to help them to achieve their current goals and to have the confidence and skills to go on from here to keep setting higher goals and reaching for them.
On a slightly more personal note, I'm exhausted. I pushed really hard in the days leading up to my classes, as I prepared my schedule, calendar, lesson plans, PowerPoint presentations, and in-class activities. I'm still adjusting to a split-shift schedule of five hours in the morning and five in the evening, and I live far enough away from the school that it's impossible for me to get a full eight hours of sleep at night. (I try to take naps during the afternoon while I'm home, but I still don't get enough sleep during the week.) Yesterday I was so charged with adrenaline, I was hardly aware of being tired until about 9 or 9:30 last night, but I finished the day with a stiff and aching back. It was incredibly odd, too, that I never felt more than mildly nervous about my very first ever teaching gig; except for my work as a tutor, which was pretty much 1-1, the most I'd done before were study sessions I led when I was a student assistant back in my twenties, and training courses for a handful of coworkers I knew and liked. I know my teaching skills are not perfect and I will continue to work on them and to improve, but in many ways I felt like I was doing something I was made to do. This is so-o-o
wonderful and I can tell that I will find this work incredibly rewarding.