Teaching as an adjunct can be a lot of fun. It is also challenging. As I have encountered a number of situations, I realize such a blog can be helpful, both to me and to others.

Thursday, January 3, 2008

Hugs And Kisses

Today was my last class of the semester. Two had finished previously, but the third one did not finish until today. I have developed a last day of class ritual, and it seems to work well. It is in large part based on something that my seventh grade English teacher did. It is amazing that something which occurred over 25 years ago has had such an impact.

My teacher, the last day of class, handed out a summary of things that had happened in the class, in a cute format. For instance, she talked about hoping the computer didn’t split up certain teams (students who had worked together on various assignments through the year). She referenced other situations as well. It was amusing and everyone went through the sheet looking for a reference to themselves. Not everyone, however, was referenced.

I piggybacked off this idea. Coming into the last day of class, I write a story. The story contains a reference to one speech given by each student. Usually I put this together in a manner about how much I have learned from my students over the course of the semester. So, for example, one topic that was big in all of my classes this semester was whether or not competitive cheerleading should be considered a sport. Another topic that was big among students was aggressive driving. So, I might start the story talking about how “after hearing speeches in my class, I wanted to see competitive cheerleading live. As I was driving, there were rude and discourteous drivers on the road and I started to beep my horn and show my rage, but then I remembered how dangerous it is to do that,” and just continue from there.

The students seem to enjoy this and I always make sure to include a reference to every student in the class, so they can find themselves. It is helps students recall speeches by other students that they may have forgotten.

I have one additional ritual. I always tell them how much I enjoy teaching and if it were not for them, the students, I would not have the opportunity to teach, to do what I truly enjoy. Therefore, I tell them I am sending them off with hugs and kisses. I then pull out little baggies that have about four Hershey kisses and four Hershey hugs and give one package to each student. They always seem to appreciate it and I even once had one of my male students (same gender as me) respond by coming up and giving me a hug in front of the rest of the class and then kissing me on the cheek.

As I said, the students always seem to enjoy the routine I have developed.