The last day of a class can be bittersweet. This was more a thank deity someone finally pulled the trigger kind of feel. Tomorrow they present their portfolios. On one hand, I am looking forward to seeing what they do. On the other hand, I know what they have done. There really is nothing more for me to say about that. I was there if and when they needed questions answered or advice. Only a couple of people took advantage of that from myself or PK, when he joined later in the semester.
That being said, this was an experience that I would not change. Had this been the perfect semester I do not think I would have been motivated to apply to graduate school. With the job I hoped I might get out of reach, I applied to get the necessary certification to get the job I want next time.
Working and dealing with the students got me to think about how I teach, what I get out of teaching, and why I like teaching. How I teach is how I like to learn which is a bit of show me what I want to know, learning what I want to learn on my own, and applying both to see what I can get. This method works with some people. At least this time, most of the students wanted to be shown how to do, but did not want to learn why anything was done. Just do for me. Application was in a similar range of doing what was asked, but not to much else. There were exceptions, but the exceptions only proved the rule.
I got more satisfaction from teaching. Even if the student gave me the metaphorical finger (and one did twice), I still got some satisfaction from being able to provide the advice, suggestion, or lesson. The couple of students who worked and wanted to do more were really satisfying. They sought out answers and suggestions; using what was given to them did their own thing. This was very satisfying watching them grow and show-off.
I finally figured out why I like teaching. I have been teaching our kids for approximately 11 years now. Teaching people how to play games for longer than that and over the last couple of years teaching people about one subject or another in a more structured and formalized manner. In all of these instances, the satisfaction and pride watching a students eyes light up with that “AH HA” moment when they go from not knowing or understanding to understanding that is what I like. Even the students who gave me the metaphorical finger had those “AH HA” moments and I enjoyed them just as much. Those moments made many of the struggles worth while and make sense. I will not lie and say I enjoyed every moment, but when that moment happened it put everything into perspective.
While the title of this is post is As A Teacher, Fin, suggesting this is the end. I do not think it is. This is the end of my time teaching as an undergraduate, but I have two children who can learn from me for many more years, lots more games and recipes to teach, and most interesting of all, to me, is that I took the next step of applying to for a graduate program so that should I be accepted and pass I can continue to teach as a professional.