Thursday, August 28, 2014

Student Expectations

This was is my first week teaching at TSU and I think I may be in love.

See, AUN was my first teaching job and I got used to the student norms there. Some of my colleagues there ranted pretty heavily about how almost no one came to class prepared to take notes, only 1/4 of the students bother to show up the first two days of class (one class I taught NO ONE showed up the first day) and some don't come until 3 weeks in, students regularly needed to borrow supplies from their prof, and they never came to class on time especially after the midterm when classes often couldn't start until 5-15 minutes after class began. There were a handful of exceptions, students who were bright, ready to work, and would have succeeded at Cornell or BYU, but usually only a couple in a class. This was all I knew, figuring my own preparedness as a student was a fluke and some of my colleagues were merely complaining about the younger generation's lack of preparedness which has been going on for decades. I adapted and tried to help teach some basic college skills as best I could.

Monday I walked into my first TSU class 10 minutes early to have plenty of time to set up before the students got there. The room was already packed. Only about 5 students entered after I did in a class of 115, and only 2 of them were late, both by less than 5 minutes.

I put the syllabus up on the projector and showed them my contact information. Instantly and in synch, 115 heads lowered as 115 sets of fingers started writing the information down on paper and devices. Any time a new slide appeared, the same thing happened.

A few students have already informed me of planned absences for school functions months in advance. Before classes started I had multiple emails asking about the textbook.

This is ... so beautiful! At first seeing so many students ready was a little intimidating, but I VERY quickly warmed to the excitement of it. Students who are actually ready to WORK! It is amazing to me. Who knows, maybe these students won't even think my tests are hard and I'll have to actually raise standards.