Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Trick and Treat

Tonight I decided to have some fun with my college students. Well from my perspective anyway. Every once in a while I like to start the class off with a bang….this is a classic. Rather than start with the typical handing out of the syllabi, I wait. I sit in the same seats as them. I strike up casual conversation if spoken to. What I do most, however, is listen. I listen to hear what they have to say if anything at all. Usually I hear about what kind of work this class will entail or how they don’t feel like being in class at this time of night.

This evenings class was a little different. I waited. Not one word. I mean zero, zilch… nada. They sat there stoic for fifteen minutes. Finally two students began to coverse, but so quietly that I could not hear a word they were saying? Finally two young women came in and began a conversation. They knew each other and gave a cultural peck on the cheek as a greeting. Before you knew it the words were flowing. One problem, it was in Spanish. But you know what? Something funny happened. Everyone began to talk….I mean everyone. I was so happy. Conversations varied from the cost of the book, to whether or not the professor was good (thank goodness they heard good things.)

Ages varied. Mostly juniors and seniors in college, and dynamic in nature. I was excited. And so it began. I left the room to get a drink of water and came back in, introducing myself as Andrew.


“I am the Professor.”

Jaws dropped.

“Oh my G-d! I thought it was you, but you look to young to be a professor,” stated Laura. (She got an ‘A’ for the day.)

It felt good to say the least. I used this motivational technique to start the class; to have them realize that this class was going to be fun, full of surprises and that most importantly, they need to be on their toes. Walking around during break and thinking about this experience I felt so good. The reason why I am a teacher is for moments like this.

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