Well it’s that time of year again…the start of the new semester. Students will be coming in filled with anxiety and dread, the same things that I feel every year at this time. But I have something going for me that they do not. An ability to look beyond the now and see the end to the means. I don’t require instant gratification and I don’t need to be entertained at all times. And, for the most part, I like being here. I just hope that I can find new and interesting ways to keep the kids from zoning out within the first thirty minutes of class.
We are looking for new ways to teach the same old stuff in my media and media production classes. I want it to be more relevant, not only to the students and myself but to the community at large. And especially to the business community. I believe that teachers have sort of become a victim of their own press. We start to think that we really are here to instill a love of learning into the hearts and minds of our youth. While some of that may be true, we are really here to help these kids get into the workforce, ready to take on their role as productive citizens, consumers, parents and, one hopes, community leaders.
Of course we do that through a thorough educational foundation but who are we kidding? I have not even thought about Beowulf since high school and when I am standing in line at the grocery store I don’t need calculus to make sure I have the correct change. But I’m glad I learned them. You figure out a geometric proof and you can think your way out of any problem. Learn to read Shakespeare and really understand it and a technical manual looks like “See Spot Run.” Learning to think is the single most important skill a child can develop. Couple that with some imagination, a good work ethic and a feeling of self-worth and today’s students will be tomorrow’s scientists, doctors and civil leaders.
So anyway, a new year begins, new faces arrive, we are uncomfortable around each other for a couple of weeks and then everything starts to smooth over. We get to know each other, develop trust and fall into a familiar pattern. By the end of the semester we are working as a team, accomplishing things we never thought possible and then it ends just as abruptly as it began just to start all over again in the new year.