Monday, December 17, 2007

Community College

Tonight is my last college class until next semester. As much as I love this class am glad that it is over. I'm tired. The thought of being able to stay home in the evenings for the next 6 weeks is wonderful. Of course I have to get the final exams marked and grades done but that won't be too bad. The class only has 20 students.

My favorite thing about the college is the respect given to teachers (even adjuncts) by other teacher, secretaries, administrators and students. Our work is appreciated. We are helped. We are never looked down upon. We are treated like professionals and it is universally accepted that we know what we are doing. Every observation is filled with praise. No one feels the need to put us down to make themselves sound better. The evening supervisor just walked by and saw me on the computer while my class is taking the final. He didn't reprimand me or even comment. He knows that the class is being watched while I blog away. This would never be acceptable on the high school level.

One of the things I really dislike about the community college is the lack of continuity with the students. I teach a course for people that don't like math. It is a class for liberal arts majors and it is usually full of people ready to graduate, as most leave math for their last term. Once in a while a student returns for a recommendation or we run into one another in the supermarket. This is rare. I do have the son of a former student at the high school I teach in so I know how well she is doing.

One of the things that bothers me about the class I have this semester is the number of problems my students have. My class of twenty has three students with sick mothers (one car accident, one nursing home and one with some serious illness that I don't know much about.) I also have two students who have had surgery-one had to drop out and one returned after 2 weeks. A third student told me that she is going in for surgery in January. She forced herself to wait until the semester was over so she could finish up and graduate. A nineteen year old boy told me that he came home from work and found his apartment cleaned out. He suspects his girl friend. Why is a nineteen year old not living at home with mom and dad? (I did not ask.) It seems to me that 35% of a class should not be having such problems. The funny thing is that I believe all these problems are real. No one asked for any time extensions or made excuses. They just opened up and told me situations at home. I will never know how any of these things turn out for people that I have come to care about.

Next semester I am teaching a pre-calculus course. Hopefully the students will have stronger background and actually appreciate some of the beauty math has to offer. I look forward to this new class and to teaching a subject I have not taught for years.


mathmom said...

Um, why should a 19-year-old college student be living at home with mom and dad? I didn't live at home when I was in college. Is it a different standard for a four-year college (where we expect most students to be living away from home) and community college students?

I don't really think it's unreasonable for parents to expect their "children" to be supporting themselves and living on their own at 19yo.

I'm glad you're treated like a professional at the college!

Pissedoffteacher said...

Maybe I babied my own children too much, but at 19 they either lived in their college dorms or with me, not with a girl friend of 2 months.

KGMom said...

PO--I recognize all the student types you describe.
Since I teach writing, I have the students write a diagnostic essay first day of class. So many students are writing of the battles of life they have already fought it takes my breath away.
These students frequently work full time, and try to go to college full time. When something needs to give, too often it is school. Frustrates me a great deal.

Anonymous said...

26 meetings over 4 months, I just don't really get to know the students. I see them again on campus, and smile and say hi, but half the time I can't remember the name, or what course... I like knowing my high school kids well. I regret that we don't build anything close to that at college.