Friday, September 08, 2006

Passion (Teaching Again )

Last night I had my first class on James Joyce. There were a lot of mixed thoughts going into the class, namely a massive amount of fear about the coursework. I was hoping (desperately) that the professor was going to look at Finnegan's Wake out of pure curiosity. Then I received the syllabus and nearly had a myocardial infarction.

Sorry... I nearly had a FUCKING HEART ATTACK.

Which is to say that the professor assigned one Joyce book a week plus supplementary reading and lots of writing. He had no bones about the fact that the course was going to be tough. It was a tough syllabus and I was ready to flee with mad rants about how some professors don't get students.

That's when the professor began speaking about Joyce. I once again learned a valuable lesson about teaching from a professor at Trinity. He spoke so genuinely, and with an honest fervor for the subject matter, that I was instantly drawn in. I liked this guy, and I realized no amount of work would keep me out of his class.

The lesson, I suppose, is that energy and passion can make all the difference in education. A student is not motivated by the course material alone. It's mainly about the commitment of the teacher.


Anonymous said...

grace be told the passion of teaching aint so old

Nile said...

I read this post and your last bit on teaching with great does seem to me the we're all looking for (1) passion and (2) connection. If a teacher is passionate about a subject, we all sit up. If he's willing to let us in -- tell us about his dog, his favorite food, what he did last weekend -- we're willing to answer back. A good teacher is interesting. A great teacher is passionate and creates a community. That's when everybody learns.

I think those H.S. students of yours are very lucky.

P.S. I got sucked back in, started blogging a might see yourself at the end of my last post.