Wednesday, May 15, 2013

My Classroom

I dislike the classroom I'm teaching in this quarter. It's a lecture hall with 68 seats (well, minus 3 of the actual seats). I have 22 students (when they all show up). The computer, document camera, white board, podium, teacher's desk and projector screen are in the front of the room. I dislike being far away from my students, so I'm constantly walking around this huge island of technology. The floor is sloped, so I'm always standing at an angle (my calves are getting pretty toned, though...bonus!). There are no windows and nothing on the walls. It is next to the construction site for the school's new health sciences building...jackhammers, men yelling, things crashing. Not great with my shy international students who often barely speak above a whisper. There is a lounge area outside the classroom with bathrooms and vending machines, which draws groups students looking to hang out (rather loudly) for a bit between classes. It is definitely not ideal my class.

One thing I really enjoy about my classroom, though, is that because it's not a do I put this politely...umm, desirable class, there is no class after mine. After my students leave, I am free to hang out there for as long as I want. Well, for an hour anyway, until I have to go pick up my son. I use that time to grade, to plan, to write about what we did in class that day on the class blog, and like today, to blog here.

Today, other than the banging around at the construction site, it's quiet. I am caught up on grading (and ignoring the papers my students just handed in). I went grocery shopping yesterday, so I'm just sitting here, reflecting on my classroom.

Sometimes, as I did earlier today, I take a moment and go around the classroom, praying for each of my students as I pass their chairs. After a particulary rough class, I'll sit on the floor behind my computer with my back against the wall (with or without gentle head banging), and try to let the last two hours roll off my back. As a teacher, you can't take a lot of things personally - you can't please everyone, and there will be students that just don't like have to remember that that is okay. On test days, after all my students have finished their tests and have left, I turn on some music and dance a little while I grade. Nothing crazy (random people do walk in at times), just a little toe tapping and swaying.

For everything my classroom isn't, I try to enjoy what it is - a quiet place where I can transition from teacher to Ashley before I have to transition again to Mama. A slice of me time, between my two beloved jobs. For that, classroom, I thank you. For everything else, we'll make it work!

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