Monday, December 16, 2013

Going Back to School

I have always loved college campuses. Maybe it's because I skipped the grand college tour when I was in high school, opting instead to focus on my first choice school. Maybe colleges remind me of being young, with unlimited possibilities stretched out in front of me. Or maybe it's because they all have bookstores.

So imagine my excitement when I was offered a job as an adjunct professor at a local college. Not only would I get to teach, but I’d have an all-access pass to a college campus -- as a member of the faculty. Professor Hess. Pretty cool.
I teach one psychology class on Tuesdays and Thursdays -- lessons in early childhood development presented to a room filled with wannabe teachers. They’re nice kids. Polite. Respectful. Decades younger than I am.

Having a teenage daughter helps me to keep the age difference in perspective. Instead of thinking of my students as being decades younger than I am, I think of them as being just a few years older than she is. This helps ensure that I don't come across as a geezer, and helps me to find interesting, contemporary ways to approach the material.

Teaching these kids makes me feel younger. Not only that, it makes me feel smarter. It's been thirty years since I sat where they're sitting, and the preparation required to teach this class well involves not just reading the textbook, but also tracking down other information that makes me delve more deeply into the subject so that I can have information that's both up-to-date and complete. I'm digging into resources and topics I'd never read on my own, and finding myself hungry for more. Parts of my brain that had been on autopilot for decades are waking up and wondering where my intellectual curiosity has been all this time.

When I retired a year and a half ago, I knew I didn't plan to retire for real just yet. But I never dreamed I'd find another job in education, let alone one that I'd enjoy as much as I enjoyed being a counselor.

And my new position allows me to go to the library or the bookstore -- or just sip iced tea by the fountain in the quad -- any time I want. 

Best job ever.

1 comment:

Caroline said...

Sounds like you're having a fun & interesting time. I imagine you're a wonderful prof. Keeping young (in our hearts and minds especially) is easy when you hang with the "youngsters!" Blessings, Lisa!