Posts Tagged ‘school’

1st Day

August 31, 2010

Today is the first day for the classes that I teach at the college.  The start of a new semester brings with it a variety of feelings.  I did not get as much done over the summer break as I would have liked to get done.  So there is the vague sense of disappointment that there was more work to do, and more fun things to do,  that just didn’t get done.  There is the sense of weight that comes with the addition of weekly responsibilities that need to be squeezed into an already full schedule.  There is also a sense of hope and anticipation.  You see, I still enjoy teaching.  Even though I have been teaching the same courses, and the same basic material for years, every semester is different.  Each class is composed of a unique combination of students so that no two classes are alike.  It makes every semester a new experience.  My classes include discussion and I learn something new every semester.  I challenge my students to think…and they challenge me to think as well.  It is a learning experience for us all.

Today is the first day.

Spring Break 2010

March 18, 2010

Spring break is not just for the students.  As a college instructor for over ten years, I can confidently say that faculty members also very much enjoy a little time off in the springtime.

Most years, for me, spring break means that, for a week, I can focus on my primary job, which is pastoring a church.  For this week, I have a little more time in my schedule.  I can catch up on a few items on my “to do” list. 

I can catch my breath. 

Today, here in eastern Iowa, it is supposed to be sunny and in the mid-sixties.  I will ride my bicycle to the church this morning, and this afternoon, for my exercise, I will both ride, and run outside.  It should be a beautiful afternoon for exercising outdoors.

A breath of fresh air!

Last week, I enjoyed a week with my son and his fiance, who were down for their spring break.  They are planning their upcoming wedding and are excited to begin their life together.  I suppose that you could say that they are in the springtime of their lives.

Excitement is in the air!

Spring break is good.  You don’t have to go to some far off location.  You certainly don’t have to party, and get drunk, and behave stupidly.  It is a wonderful opportunity to catch your breath, take a break, enjoy the changing seasons, relax a little, and refocus on what is important in your life.

New Semester

January 13, 2010

It is the start of a new semester at the college.  There will be a new group of students starting classes that will run until springtime.  In the beginning there is excitement, with some apprehension, over what the new semester will bring to their lives.

As a teacher, they are the same classes that I have been teaching for years, but there is always something different.  Every class has its own personality.  Some are better than others.  Some are a joy to teach.  Some are more of a challenge, than a joy. 

Some things are certain.  Both the students, and I, will learn something through the time spent in the classroom. Both the students and I will have to do some work.  Sometimes hard work.  Sometimes inconvenient work.  Some students will not complete the semester.  Most will.  Some students will not be happy with their final grades.  Most will.  (I think.)  The time will pass.  May will come.  This semester will be over, and, after a break, we will begin again.

Isn’t it great?

Christmas Break

December 21, 2009

The fall semester is over.  The last papers have been graded.  The finals have been calculated.  The students have gone home.  The final grades have been turned in, and recorded.  It’s all over except for the lingering memories of success and defeat. 

I will go in to the school office one more time, (maybe) to file away the semesters various papers, but for all practical purposes, I also am on break.

For me, it is an opportunity to catch up on a few things at home,  and at the church.  There is, of course, also, Christmas to celebrate, family that will be visiting, and… deer hunting season.  It is a busy time, a good time, a time that goes by all too fast.

Crunch Time

December 15, 2009

It is the end of the semester.  Finals are being taken by students everywhere.  Some will have prepared diligently for this final opportunity to demonstrate what they have learned through the last few months.  Others will frantically cram in the last few hours before a test that they knew was coming since the beginning of the semester.  Some will just show up and hope that somehow they will pass.   A few will not even bother to show up.

One way or another, it will all be over soon.  All that will remain is a grade on a transcript, varying amounts of accumulated knowledge, and the memories of the experience, that will have been good for some, but not for all.

School Speech

September 9, 2009

Work hard.

Dream big.

Overcome adversity.

Take personal responsibility.

Contribute to society.

I certainly can’t say that I have any problems with the President’s speech to students.  I especially liked the part about taking personal responsibility.  I regularly pray for myself, my family and friends, that we will make good choices and good decisions. 

I pray for our country as well, that our governmental leaders will choose wisely in the decisions that are made on behalf of the country. 

I sometimes wonder if our country is not going down a different road.

Complain loudly.

Expect big things to be given to you.

Run over opposition.

Blame others for problems.

Take, take , take from those in society, who have anything left.

Perhaps we all need to listen to the President’s speech, and take it to heart.

New Semester

September 1, 2009

The fall semester started last Thursday.  This is the first full week of my normal school schedule.  This is my twelfth year of teaching college classes part time, while pastoring a church.  I continue to enjoy the college experience.  Some things are old, familiar and comfortable.  Some things are new and challenging.  It is a wonderful opportunity to share with a group of people, most of whom I am just meeting for the first time.  Each year I learn a little more about the material that I teach.  Each year I have new students, and new dialogue and some new material. 

What makes the biggest difference each semester is the makeup of the particular class.  Sometimes the mix of students is better, sometimes it is not so good.  Since I teach philosophy, input from the students can make a class particularly interesting and relevant. 

It is too early to tell what kind of classes I will have this semester.  I am hopeful that it will be a great fall semester.

Extra Frosting

May 19, 2009

My students once gave me a can of frosting at the end of the semester.

There is a reason.  In the beginning of the semester I tell my students a little about my approach to teaching.  That approach includes the idea that I will teach the basic information that they will need to know to pass the course.  That is the core material that the school expects to be taught, and that they will be tested over.  Then there is the body,  that fleshes out the core material, additional information that is beneficial to understanding the topics.

Then there is the frosting.  The frosting is material that is relevant to the course, but not a part of the core, or the body.  It is fun information that helps maintain interest and brings a little life to the lectures.

I like a lot of frosting; on my cake, and in my class.

The Value of Testing

February 24, 2009

Today I am writing a new test for the logic class that I teach.  I believe that testing serves at least two valid purposes.  The first is that knowing that there will be a test will cause most, (not all) students to put forth effort in preparing for the test.  By putting more time into study, the student will learn more than if they did not study.  So the first purpose is that it will increase the students knowledge. (At least, for those students who do study. )

Secondly, it provides a measurable means of determining how much has been learned, and what needs to be reinforced.  This is particularly valuable, when the knowledge or skills being learned are necessary for being able to perform certain tasks.  For example, I appreciate that both  written and driving tests are given to people seeking a drivers license.  I want them to know what “yield” means, (I have seen some drivers who I question their understanding of that word!} and I want them to be able to parallel park without rearranging the bumper of my car!!

So please know, students, that tests are not meant to simply make you miserable.  They do serve a valid purpose.

God also uses tests in our lives in a similar fashion.  As we learn more about God and his word there will arise “tests” that will challenge us to expand the limits of our learning.  There are also tests that will demonstrate how far we have come; or what we may need to repeat.

Almost There

December 2, 2008

The other day, I blogged about driving in winter weather.  I was so glad to be home.  As we got closer to home, I mentally checked off the towns.  It was a tremendous relief to reach the end of the journey.

The fall semester will be over next week.  I used to think that only students were happy to reach the end of the semester.  Now I know better.  I am looking forward to a break as much as most students.

In my family, we have three in college.  I teach, and both of my sons are students.  All of us will be finished soon.  We are all almost there.