My double life: a student and a teacher at the same college

I have been a college student for 8 or 9 years, but this is my first year doubling as student and faculty.

As an instructor you don’t have the luxury of finishing your work early so that you can enjoy the break. You also can’t plan for when you will get things done. For my class I assigned a speech to be completed on Tuesday. And, I have completed the required rubric and grading scale for everything, but that does not mean I am done. I still have to reply and give feedback to any student who wants it. The more feedback they get in advance the better the final product will be.

I thought I had been in school long enough to understand what the instructors had to do… I was wrong. It is way more complicated and time consuming than I ever would have thought. Whether it’s grading an exam or preparing in-class exercises, everything takes time. Needless to say, I have been very busy this semester. I have loved every minute of it!

When I first was offered the teaching position at Glendale Community College I was not sure how it would affect me as a student. After so many years, I have all but perfected the art of being a student, but barely touched on being an instructor!

While I was in graduate school I was a TA for a 400 level class. I loved doing that, but I was working with a professor. Although I did give some class lectures and graded all of the discussion board posts, it did not prepare me as well as I thought. I believe that acting as both a student and an instructor has done little for my ability to be a student, but increased my ability to be a teacher.

I understand all too well what it’s like to sit in a classroom and listen to a lecture that won’t end. I understand how awful it is to come in to take an exam and realize that you don’t know any of the material. I understand what it feels like be forced into doing ‘busy work’ that seems to barely apply to the subject at hand. Although sometimes a long lecture is necessary, I believe it helps the students to assure that I understand how bad it is and ensure that it doesn’t last forever.

Although every instructor has also been a student, I think that because I have not only been one recently, but also because I am currently one, I have an edge at better understanding them. The obvious downside to that is that I have less experience actually teaching. I hope that doing my best as an instructor, with the added help of currently being a student, has made up for that downside.

For now, I hope my students succeed in their speeches I assigned last week, and I can’t wait to continue learning as much from them as I hope they are from me. =)


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