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Why I love teaching college students

March 5, 2015

While I worked in a K-12 educational context for six years and now have children in their first years of school, you could not pay me enough – nor would you want to pay me – to be an elementary or junior high (middle school) teacher. I – and the students – might survive if I was teaching high school, but it would be painful for all involved.

On the other hand, I thoroughly enjoy teaching college students. Over the years I have taught a number of different subject areas and both first-year (aka freshman) and upper level courses. I am privileged to be doing so once again as a sessional instructor with Prairie Colleges.

Here are a few of the reasons I enjoy teaching college students:

  • They are enrolled by choice – though not always evident, at some level the students is a part of your college because they want to be, not because of some parental or governmental choice. While they may enroll  in a specific course only because it is required on their program, they choose to “pass” the course for the greater goal of completing a desired program.
  • They are in a time of significant life transition… and you are often given the opportunity to provide (non-parental) guidance simply because of your role/position as a “college prof.”
  • They are making significant life decisions – career, life partner, solidifying personal values & priorities. As an instructor you get to watch with interest, and sometimes are asked to discuss these choices.

Recently I have talked to many parents with children in this age group. They have all emphasized this is a much more stressful time for the parents than the “busy kids under foot” or the “teenagers” stage. Without diminishing this stress, it points to the great opportunity/responsibility and privilege of teaching college students.

I was recently thinking about what I would classify as my greatest “achievements” in life. While I have been very blessed in my life, including many opportunities to be involved in all sorts of wonderful accomplishments individually and with teams, being recognized one year as “the teaching faculty member who impacted students lives the most outside the class” certainly is at, or near, the top. That’s why I love teaching college students!


From → Leadership

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