Wednesday, November 9, 2016

Teaching Freshmen

Sometimes I look at the freshmen I teach and think back to what I was like in the fall of 1994...with my mop of California-blonde hair, and wearing flannel everywhere I went, and listening to Dave Matthews, and Hootie & the Blowfish, and Blues Traveler...and I smile.

I smile because I thought I knew so much then, and didn't realize how much more I had to learn. ("Wise in my own eyes," as the writer of Proverbs so often cautions against...)

It's humbling to serve as a professor, because I think of how very much my professors had a hand in shaping how I think, and act, and LIVE today. I wonder sometimes if I'm doing enough in the service of helping them grow into the people God is calling them to become.

But these students? Wow. What a blessing to teach them. They ask such great questions, they (usually) throw themselves into the weird learning tasks I ask them to try, and most of them truly want to learn. And yet, strangely, I sometimes catch glimpses of the freshman I was coming out in them, the kid who thinks he is so wise, but has so much yet to learn. But I know that it's part of their growing and maturing process too, just as it was for me. In those moments, I feel like the work I'm doing is somehow holy, and nothing to be taken lightly. Makes me wonder if my professors maybe felt that way about working with me too.

Maybe I'm just feeling a little nostalgic today, and maybe I'm just feeling the burden of being a little behind on my marking, and maybe I'm just grateful for the opportunity I have to be teaching at my alma mater, helping freshmen discern if becoming a teacher is part of their calling, just as my professors did 20-some years ago, changing my life in the process.

I think I'm going to go put some Collective Soul and grade papers...

I must have listed to this album a hundred
times in my dorm room during freshman year.


  1. You're just like my dad!

  2. A lot of wisdom here. Teaching high school freshmen is certainly an interesting place to be for me right now. I'm definitely learning more *every* day (class period?). Blessings to you as you teach future teachers of freshmen. A question that has been coming to my mind a lot lately as the first semester comes to a close that has helped me in answering that call to teach is, "Do you love learning?"

    1. I appreciate the feedback, Cole! I think your closing question is an essential one, for students and teachers alike.