I have a new preparation this quarter, and as always, it’s proving to be stressful. Trying to keep up with both classes, answer student questions/e-mail, do my grading, and try to handle the service, research, and other obligations that simply cannot be postponed has me already exhausted. It’s going to be a long quarter.
But yesterday I was reminded of yet another reason why I love teaching and why it is that I hope to never leave the classroom. During the lecture in the second-quarter Python class we were talking about key logging programs, since we’re doing GUIs and that makes a fun example. That led to talking about illegal key logging and my teasing them about the fact that I trusted they wouldn’t rush out and become virus-writers. The laughs about that visibly lightened the mood of the class, making me realize that the tough topics (inheritance and exception handling) and the hard lab last week really had them down. What surprised me is how much the shift in mood changed my perspective on the day. I was happier and more cheerful just because they were.
The feedback, good and bad, that I get from my students is crucial for me. I honestly think that I learn more from them than they do from me, both about technical topics and about myself as a person. I would be profoundly sad if my job no longer involved interacting with students, which probably means I’m not destined for an administrative position. The only thing that I can imagine will pull me away from them is retirement, and I’m very happy that is a long way away.