Wednesday, October 27, 2010
A Worthy Investment
In my historical teaching class, we've been talking a lot about what makes a good professor. There's a lot of qualities that we have agreed on, but one statement has been repeated throughout the semester, and it is something that figures heavily into my own teaching philosophy. A good teacher is one who makes an intentional investment in her students.
When you make a worthy investment in someone else's life, you do not know what the return will be, but you hope that it is a big one. You make the investment wanting to see that person grow and develop.
I've been fortunate enough to have a few professors invest in me in graduate school. This week, I am design the coursework for my final semester of classes. Because I have taken care of all of my requirements, there is a large degree of freedom. So, with two professors who are tremendous, I proposed independent tutorials: weekly one-on-one courses with each professor. This would give me a lot of freedom to pick subjects that interest me and have great discussions with my professors. Both were a-go for the classes, and their enthusiasm was phenomenal. One said that it would be "a lot of fun" and that we could work on a lot throughout the semester.
Okay, I realize it might not be everyone's desire to pick classes with a lot of reading, but when the subject material is good and the enthusiasm is there, that is a dream class. These professors have put a lot of time into my academic and professional development, and it has made a tremendous difference. Not only have I been able to grow a lot, it has continued to spark my passion for learning. It gives me a lift, a high, and makes school wonderful. I don't think it would've been possible without their choice to invest in me.
And this goes beyond teaching - we invest a lot.
I've made a major investment in running, and the more I invest in it, the interest is rising and I am getting a great return. 3 mile repeats yesterday: 7:11, 6:58, 6:51. But it goes beyond that.
This weekend is going to be a great pay-out: the Marine Corps Marathon. Jenny gets in in a few hours, and we'll have a few days to pal around before the race. But the race itself is a big bonus. The excitement is building, the big day is almost here - and I am ready to cash out!