Wednesday, November 23, 2005


I had an interesting experience yesterday, teaching. Tuesday is my busy teaching day; other days of the week I only teach two to three hours, some days even less. But on Tuesday I have a relatively full day of classes: five 45-minute periods.

Two of these classes are music history/literature classes, two different topics, but similar concept. One of the two is fantastic. The students' enthusiasm is so strong, their joy in learning palpable. Articulate, creative, thoughtful, imaginative: each student in the class is a pleasure and I feel great teaching them. After that class I was buoyant; my state of hypomania yesterday (I woke up that way) only added to my smile. And then, later in the afternoon, the other group. I was so demoralized and frustrated teaching them. They make almost no effort to learn; when I verbally "quiz" them about the listening we did in the last class, they can't remember. They are basically clueless. And I told them that I was frustrated with them, that they disappointed me in their apathy. They looked genuinely dismayed and contrite, and I know that I made them feel bad.

But I didn't feel bad making them feel bad. They deserved it. I am a very patient teacher, and I give a lot in the classroom. This is because I genuinely love teaching. But when students don't uphold their end, when they make no effort, I feel defeated.

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