Weird Things I Missed About Teaching

There used to be a time when I could say without lying “I do not have 3 magic markers and a rubber duck in my bag.” That time has passed because teaching is weird, and I might be too. Over the Summer, I taught a small group and had a pack of feral high school students, but it wasn’t the same as my job during the actual academic year. I often had to share the class and teaching time with another person, and the students never completely felt like mine. The community of the classroom wasn’t one I had built; class time bounced between casual and chaotic, and not once did I feel like the authoritarian overlord that I’ve come to think of myself as. It was rough-going not being the absolute commander of my pack of tiny humans. But now things are returning to their proper order, and I’m returning to my throne at the head of the class, and I’ve missed it so much.

I want this as my staff photo
Just a regular picture of a person gesturing to a powerful-looking arrow. A powerPOINT, if you will

Some of the things I’ve missed about teaching seem strange even to me. Making powerpoints, arguably one of the most mundane acts any person can have inflicted upon them, is something I actually longed for. I missed the time I’d devote to finding weird picture for slides and making writing-based puns for me to laugh at while my kids endanger the integrity of their eyes by rolling them every few seconds. I missed putting odd writing prompts up that have a secret agenda behind them because I like gathering data on my students because, as I’ve mentioned, I am their benevolent overlord and I must know everything about them.

I miss grading–kind of. I don’t miss the actual act of reading through dozens of papers and making carefully crafted comments in a tone that is somewhere between stern parent and helpful nerd. You can ask any plumber within 2 miles of a Taco Bell, being needed is a really good feeling, and when I poured my time and effort into suggesting ways to make my students’ writing better, I felt exactly like a plumber plunging the waste from the foul pipes of student minds. There are a thousand ways to say it, but at its core, I was proud of slashing my way through pages of shit and giving a chance for a glimmer of something good to show through. And my handwriting was getting really good too. I could curl the tail of a ‘y’ with the grace and style of a master calligrapher. I was an artist, and comments were my craft.

Look how beautifully I can write “Revise for credit.”

Most of all, I think I miss having hostages. I haven’t felt anything akin to being able to demand the attention of a crowd both because I want it and because they’re paying a lot of money to sit in a room with me. I had a captive audience shelling out major money to hear about writing, the thing I love most in the world. And also they couldn’t leave when I made jokes because I held their grade in the soft palm of my hand like a gorilla holding the last egg of an endangered species. It was fun having my little pack of people. They’re fun to work with even when they’re awful to be around, and now I get to do it again, and I’m going to tell even worse jokes because I know I can get away with it.

14 Replies to “Weird Things I Missed About Teaching”

  1. That’s hilarious. I suppose the teachers I’ve had growing up always did have that tone – the one that made them seem like they kind of liked being in charge of a large group of little humans. Things definitely changed as college came! Great read!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I also enjoy the idea that I have “hostages.” The lack of a ransom is a total bummer, though, because if I got some millions to let them go before the official ending time I might not miss teaching ever again.

    Liked by 1 person

      1. One time, when I was a grad student, I had the child of a national president (I can’t remember the country it was so long ago). That was the first and last time anyone in the class would have had the power and wealth to open a briefcase full of cash in exchange for leaving early. He evidently never did because here I am, servantless, butlerless, personal assistantless, chauffeurless, mansionless, and private jetless.

        Liked by 1 person

  3. When my students complain that something is “not fair” I have been known to laugh and tell them the the class is “not a democracy, but a dictatorship, albeit a benevolent one most days, and I am empress-goddess-queen of this classroom.”

    Liked by 1 person

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