Today, I learned how tough yet simultaneously satisfying it is to be a teacher. I’m enrolled in the PRAXIS program, which is a leadership development program within the College of Arts & Sciences, and so far, the program has been a little different than most of my classes. We focus on communication and group dynamics more than I ever have in my life. Currently, I’m taking a class called Leadership in Context, everyone is assigned to lead a discussion, for an entire class period. Yes, that means an 80 minute discussion.
When you’re assigned to read 5 chapters, you’ll read them and take notes as you go, marking off notable points. When you’re assigned to lead a discussion on 5 chapters, you will pore over every page and paragraph. You will understand every single word of those five chapters, because knowing that you’ve got to enlighten an entire class is terrifying. The entire lesson is in your hands, and it is on you to make sure everyone fully understands and learns something from the discussion.
Leading a discussion is a lot more intricate than you’d imagine. On one hand, you want everyone to express themselves. On the other, you have to stay on topic. You can’t always assume that everyone has done the reading. You don’t want to cut anyone off from speaking, but you want to cover everything, You want to help them lead themselves to conclusions, and don’t want to give it all away at first.
After today, I’ve gained a newfound appreciation for all of my teachers. It is hard work. Thank you, professors. One day, I hope I can be as patient as you guys are. Until then, I’m excited to see what Leadership in Context has in store for me next.