Well, it finally happened.
Wednesday night was the first class I’ve taught in a year and half or two years. This class has three more Wednesdays to go before it’s done.
I took a gamble. I elected to teach a beginning astrophotography class, something I’ve only taught hands-on and in the field before now. So, the first thing I did was warn them of that. I also gambled that there wouldn’t be that many people interested in the class so I could start out with a small group, say 3 or 4 students, and ease myself back into teaching. Just in case, though, I set a limit of 10 students. I got 10 students and 1 on a waiting list. After I decided to let that one extra student into the class anyway, one of the registered students dropped out so when I went to the classroom Wednesday night, there were 10 students on the roster. 9 showed up, which wasn’t bad considering.
Next Wednesday night will be the proof of the pudding. How many of those 9 students will return? Right now, or at any rate right after the last class, I expect one particular student to drop out. The others I don’t know. They all seemed interested and I was able to get them to interact so…we’ll see on that point.
I was wondering before and I’m wondering now whether I’m actually any good as a teacher. I feel that my performance in the first class was rather unprofessional, unprepared. I wonder if they’re learning anything or just being polite and saying “thank you”. I try to see if they’re confused and encourage questions. I try to see if I need to adjust the class to better match what they came to learn from it.
I can’t wait for this class to get over with so I can get back to doing my own photography and maybe doing more teaching hands-on in the field. Already after the first class I know I don’t want to do this any more, but I’m committed to teaching the rest of the class. I have no choice, it’s what I signed up to do.
And I know, without a doubt, that as soon as this class is over with I’m going to be looking forward to the next class in the next semester. I know because I’ve already signed up to teach a time lapse class.
As the saying goes, “I gotta be nuts!”
I happened to mention this to a co-worker and she said, “that’s the sign of a good teacher.” I certainly hope so, but more than that I hope I meet my student’s expectations. They are, after all, the only ones that I’m accountable to.