The occasional ramblings of a freelance lexicographer

Thursday, September 09, 2010

Seeing Progress

Having just sat through two full days of student presentations (26 in all!), I've now come to the end of my summer teaching for this year. As ever, the five-week course has whizzed by amazingly quickly, but seems to have consumed a huge amount of energy. Even though I've only been teaching a few classes a week this year, it's amazing how much you can get caught up with your students in such a short period of time. So it was very satisfying to see that many of them had made real, tangible progress. The difference between their initial attempts at presentations and what they came up with in their final assessed presentations was really very impressive in lots of cases. And it was particularly pleasing when some of them had picked up on specific points that I'd made in class and really taken them on board. It was sometimes tempting to give them a high mark just for facing their audience or including an outline in their introduction!

Unfortunately, my teaching stint this year has clashed with the (delayed) end of a particularly busy publishing project and it's been a real juggling act. There have been so many times when I've wished that I could just stay at my desk and get on with work rather than to-ing and fro-ing between classes, photocopying, planning and sitting through staff meetings. But it's definitely been worth it. My time in the classroom is just so valuable for keeping in touch with students and remembering what teaching is all about. It's also the only time of the year when I have colleagues. After spending months alone at my desk communicating only via e-mail, it's so nice to have a moan over the photocopier or a giggle in the coffee break. And it's just long enough not to get involved in "office politics" or become bitter about "the system". Really the best of both worlds.

So now I'm feeling that odd mixture of emotions that I always experience at the start of September of being utterly exhausted, but strangely satisfied and reinspired to push through the rest of the year. First though, I need a break, so I'm really looking forward to a holiday next week :)

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