Jan 23, 2010

On Saturday Morning College Classes

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I am teaching a Saturday morning course this semester in Ohio History that is geared toward: a) people seeking a teaching certificate in secondary social studies; and b) people who work during the week. The class runs from 8:00 am to noon on alternate Saturdays, and this accelerated pace means that we meet only eight times.

This is the first time I ever taught on Saturday mornings, and I have to admit I went into the class with some assumptions about the sorts of people who would be inclined to sign up for such a class. In my (mistaken) mind, I thought I would have a class full of slackers who would roll in two hours late and sleep the rest of the allotted time.

Nothing could be further from the truth.

In actuality I have almost a dream class, at least based on the first day. Of the 33 students at least 30 were in the room by 8:03 or so, and almost everyone was bright-eyed and bushy-tailed. Lots of folks came in already wired on coffee, and the intelligence level was quite high, as I was peppered with quite a few smart questions (and zero not-so-smart questions).

I also found that this time slot attracted quite a few non-traditional adult students, the kind who take excellent notes and contribute lively and thoughtful conversation at the discussions. In fact, while I did not plan to coast through this class (I take seriously my role in college teaching), I think I will have to prepare a bit more thoroughly than I would for a class heavier on young adult undergraduates: the vast majority of these students work full-time, and they are the kind of students who demand excellence during every minute of lecture.

I had better make sure my coffee pot is plugged in and fired up on Saturday mornings.

4 comments:

Middle Aged Woman said...

These are the type of students who will organize the bringing in of bagels and coffee boxes. And the teachers are likely to get raises at the end of it!

Alpha Bitch said...

Those are the best classes. I miss being at Big Sue. I often contemplate getting another degree just because the process is so much fun. Then I remember defending and think, "Nah."

microdot said...

I finished High School at Scott High Night School with students who were motivated to earn GEDs and went on to go to UT mostly out of my own pocket while working...
I found that people who were learning ouside the loop...the normal routine of "I have to do this because my parents are paying" are invariably the real achievers...
You Saturday Students are part of the outside the loop group and are motivated...

Anonymous said...

Mike,

You do NOT lie. I remember introducing a course in African-American History at the the Detroit HIstorical Museum on a Saturday morning (many decades ago) and I was shocked at the positive and "pro-active" response. That course subsequently helped to yield three Ph.D's in Black Studies and history and a prominent novelist.

Keep up the good work!