Throughout last week as I stressed about preparing for this week's hour-and-fifty-minute class, I had a little epiphany. I remembered that all time is in God's hands. He is infinite. The Alpha and Omega. The Beginning and The End. So I realized that it makes little sense for me to stress about whether I can fill the time. It's a good thing I had this little personal lesson engrained in my brain as I went into class tonight with about fifteen pages of notes and four exercises.
At the conclusion of my printed notes, I handwrote, "Let the students work on their assignment for next week if there is extra time." A co-worker gave me that advice a few weeks ago, and he assured me that the students would appreciate that opportunity.
I guess my approval rating should be off the charts because I had thirty minutes left after going through all of my prepared materials. "How could all of that material only have taken an hour and twenty minutes?" you ask. Class participation was at an all-time low. Any of those four exercises could have taken fifteen minutes each had the students been willing to participate. Being the nice professor that I am, I refrained from calling on them by name. I figure that they are upper level students and shouldn't be abused in that way. (But there's always next week to implement that new technique.)
Although I was bothered by the timing issue, I didn't dwell on it. I figure there's not much more I could have done. I covered all of the assigned material for the week and prepared to the best of my ability. But I still feel like I'm battling a dragon week after week.
Simply put, thus far, the task of teaching hasn't been what I imagined it to be. I've written about each class's ups and downs and have tried to put these experiences into perspective. I think that my thinker and feeler got a bit confused: I hoped (maybe even assumed) that because I felt that God led me to this unexpected opportunity, it would be easy. That it wouldn't interfere with MY life and MY plans. Instead, it has been extremely challenging to balance two jobs. To feel forced to say "no" to "yes" events. To feel like I'm not very good at this teaching thing.
That's why I think Cec's keynote address about significance spoke to me. I am wrestling with feelings of insignificance because I don't feel like I'm good at this gig. A gig that I had hoped to do back at my college alma mater in my retirement years. Yet, deep down, I feel like I still might enjoy teaching, maybe just not at this level or for this class length. So I am going to forge ahead in obedience and hope that the students are getting more out of what I'm lecturing on than their class participation has revealed. And I'll be grateful that at the end of each month, I'll still get paid. No matter what.