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.

2 comments:

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 interest...it 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 bit...you might see yourself at the end of my last post.