Friday, December 17, 2010

Leading Two Lives

In August I was offered the opportunity to teach a course at our local university. With one child in college, another heading off to college in the fall, and a dancer with competitions, private lessons, costumes, and shoes I couldn't ignore this offer. In addition this course covers just the type of information I enjoy teaching, Human Growth and Development. In my excitement to earn extra money and work with adult learners, I had forgotten how rigorous and time consuming it is to prep a course you have never taught before. Although the subject matter was very familiar the course structure was new.

Instead of teaching college courses the last several years, I was paid to offer technological delivery advise, design, and build web based courses to professors' specifications. While this offered it own challenges it was vastly different from teaching a class to adults. I found myself working hard to to stay ahead of my college students.

I was fortunate to have some very generous professors share their textbook (until I got mine), assignment ideas, requirements, and PowerPoints. Even with all that help from August through the end of October I spent time every evening working on my course or working on my kindergarten class and professional demands.

While juggling a college course and my kindergarten class, I had one of those moments that transported me back to my teaching days at Georgia Southwestern State Univ. (GSW). In those days I was a half-day preschool teacher, college professor (teaching two classes), and an academic advisory to elementary education majors. I was often frustrated in those early days when I had one aspect of my professional life organized, prep work ready for class, and knew just where I was headed and the other areas was in disarray and I struggled to stay ahead of the game. As frustration mounted I would switch my energies to the somewhat neglected area and get that running smooth to the distraction of the other part of my work.

I often felt that I lived two lives. The pre-school teacher organizing centers, playing with children, band-aiding the occasional boo-boo and the college teacher preparing PowerPoints, providing interesting active learning opportunities, and offering advise to students dealing with the everyday stress and frustrations of college life. On one hand I was the teacher who communicated regularly with parents and on the other the teacher who by law could not disclose information to parents without their child's consent.

So this fall as I was working at my list of to do's, I breathed a sigh of relief as I had finished grading the last paper of the most recent assignment and had half the week of college classes were planned. I then remembered that I had a second list, pulling it out made me face the reality that lesson plans weren't finished and I needed to go back to school to pull out my math resources for the week. Aaah the double life and double lists.

Although stressful at times, I managed to really enjoy teaching my college course. Doug was a great help as he reminded me of old resources that either he or I had used in the past. He often ran back to his office at night to bring me a hand-out or a book to consider incorporating in my class. And I have to say that I had one of the best groups of college students ever. They ranked right up there with three of my most favorite groups at GSW.

Friday ended the college semester and I've posted final grades. The kindergartens are bouncing off the walls, humoring me with tales of Santa, and my assistant is wearing a "tacky" Christmas sweater and decorative headwear each day. With two days of school left before the break, I have plans that will keep the most bouncy child engaged and enthralled. My reward today was pajamas till 10:00 while lounging on the couch with a diet soda and HGTV. ...and blogging.


marciamayo said...

I'm doing the double duty too but with no kids at home, I don't have the third life you do. Enjoy your well-deserved rest, Aggie.

Homerun Hatch Family News said...

Thankfully my kids are older than the toddlers they were when I started at GSW.