Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Flipping That Switch

I have been taking classes part time at Buff State for the past year.
I love being a student. I truly do. If I could stay in school forever, I would.

Hell, my student loans disappear once I die, so why not??

My problem is I am also a teacher.

I have taught high school drop outs trying to get their GEDs.
I have worked as a substitute at the high school and middle school level.
And I currently work as an instructor for a community college helping adults who want to go back to school get to the levels they need to.

Most days I go straight from work to class, and in that 20 minute drive, I need to flip the switch to go from teacher to student. To those who have been both, I'm sure you can feel my pain.

One of the reasons I love being a student is I love to learn. But this past year I have learned more than what the professors have taught. I've also picked up on their personal teaching methods. I've seen the way they approach a subject or how they deal with a snow day or getting the flu. I've also noticed the ways they don't deal with situations.

The teacher in me wants to just get up in the front of the class and reprimand the students that spend all class on their laptops playing Scrabble or wandering around tumblr and facebook and twitter. There is a time and place for that. Anthropology class is not that place. If you don't want to be here, then go back to the dorm. What's the point of taking up a seat if you're not even going to attempt to take notes? Go home!

But of course I don't do that. I keep my mouth shut. I am a student in this classroom. But it is so frustrating! It is so hard to flip that switch and go from teacher to student.

Another one of my problems is when a fellow student asks a question about something that was in the assigned reading. At one point I actually answered one of these questions by saying, "Well in the reading..." It was a very teacher-ly move on my part. But to the other students it looks like a jackass thing to do. I know this. As soon as it came out of my mouth I wanted to take it back. But seriously, do the reading!

In Canada they differentiate between college and university. College is a trade school or a two-year school or a school you attend to get a certificate in a specialized area. University is a four-year school. University is where you get a degree. I enjoy this distinction. When a Canadian says, "I attended university" you know what they're coming from. They have a degree. They were a part of the higher learning process. They weren't just in a certificate program. Not that there's anything wrong with certificate programs, but saying you went to college in Canada has a completely different connotation.

That being said, I will one day teach at the university level. Buff State is a college and even in America, there's a difference. It's a state school. Not that there's anything wrong with state schools. But from my view, they seem to have much lower standards than private universities. Of course, Buff State is the only state school I've attended. I received my Bachelor and Masters Degrees from private schools. Maybe that makes me a snob. But the students at Buff State don't seem to care as much. They dress like--

--Okay, let me just stop myself before I really sound like an jagoff.
Before I really sound like an old man.
Before I really sound like a snob.

Needless to say, flipping that switch is really really hard some days. But I only have two more weeks left in the semester.

I wonder where I'll go to school next...

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