Teaching as Learning: Patchworked Aspirations

Pieces of work aren’t always about perfection—sometimes, they’re about practice, problem-solving, and learning the processes. Before this experience, I understood teaching as something instructors did to convey information. My previous understanding was two-dimensional and lackluster. After spending more time analyzing Dr. Lotz’s teaching style, diagnosing my own, and putting together a lesson plan for a day’s class worth of teaching, I slowly began to experience and understand a very non-two-dimensional conception of teaching.

People who profess, or professors, provide fluidity through their words. They roll script and freeverse from their tongues, teaching those who wish to learn. Each class is a chance of invisibility—the possibility to have a conversation with a group of students while simultaneously hiding the fact that you’re teaching them. To pull this off, professors must prepare to converse. Labors of love and achievement, preparing oneself to deliver an invisible plan; pushing forth ideas and growing alongside the class. 

The way I now look at student learning in the classroom has changed. I knew that students, or myself, learn best from active and engaging professors. I knew that work went behind their instruction, but I didn’t realize the types of work. I learned that students could learn from a lecture that has been lectured over six semesters, one ingrained in the professor’s memory, or they can learn from a first-semester course where the professor is only a day ahead of the students. Both can be just as fruitful in their committed ways. 

The most valuable aspect of the CUTF experience has been preparing for my own day of teaching class. I haven’t lectured yet or engaged with the students as the room’s primary speaker, but the time is coming, and I am prepared. Mild anxiety floats around the thought of it, but my worries are tamed; I have tricks up my sleeve, and I’m still learning to diagnose my style. My few moments of teaching will be the results of my favorite orators and professors, patchworked into a quilt of aspiration. I’m confident my first teaching moments will be unlike the best conversations I’ve seen professors have with groups of fifty students, but they will be conversation-like nonetheless. Before I find more comfort in my teaching style, my soon-to-be lecture will be one of speech, both earnest and tentative. 

Now that CUTF is coming to a close, I hope to carry what I’ve learned into my grad-school experience and professional career. I hope to learn and work towards being a comfortable orator and proficient professor of words, even if I’m not a professor. I hope to continue diagnosing all the important aspects of my life, not just in teaching, and to continue growing and becoming a positive sum of my surrounding elements. I’ve learned that teaching is learning, just as much as it is professing.

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