As a former college student undertaking an assistant professor apprenticeship, it came as a surprise to me when I realized that it is quite a challenging experience having to deal with my more than 20 English composition students while I serve as a masters students myself. The task has provided me with opportunities for identifying the various issues affecting students in their academic life while comparing it with that of other well-established individuals in different careers. Upon starting dealing with the students, for instance, I had high expectations of them and quite idealistic that they would perform their level best. I approached the profession in a noble manner believing that I would manage to make a significant difference in the young individualss lives who shows minimal interest in literature as well as lacked the capacity to express them opinions in writing. Due to my mynervousness in my initial days with the students, I used to sweat, even though the profession excited me as well. I believed that I had the capacity to inspire the students in the same manner my former professors inspired me, although I was not well aware of the challenges that lay ahead of me while dealing with the students.
During my undergraduate years, about four years ago, I had come across some professors who did not have the capacity to inspire their students. I often overheard people raising complaints concerning the apathy portrayed by the students, as well as administrators who did not take the time to understand the situation of their students. Some of them complained that they used to work extensively without being accorded the appreciation they deserved. I can remember a time when one professor approached me to warn against joining the institution since he regretted the way he had spent his life without gaining any notable recognition from the school as well as the challenges he faced with the students. He stipulated that the students became lazier after the end of every year. As such, the teaching staff regarded the job of instruction as becoming harder while it was also less rewarding. The conversation I had with the professors led me to think how I would survive in the learning environment on my own.
One day, I believed that the professor were an individual who was headed toward retirement and needed to create room for new professionals who had appeared more enthusiastic and motivated to pursue the task, although this was not the case as I later came to realize. I believed I was one of the ideal people for handling the work as based on the trust I had in myself as capable of fostering learning motivation in any environment. I trusted that I had the capacity to influence any student to improve despite any common challenges apparent in the teaching environment. As such, I disregarded the opinions raised by the former professor believing I was capable of transforming the learning atmosphere. Presently, it is three years after I joined the institution where I am teaching. I think that if things go according to the way I want them to, I will be earning tenure soon. I am now wondering whether I was uncharitable to the former professor of the institution, as he might have known certain things that I do not.
Thoughts and Feelings Description
Upon my discussion with the former teacher of the university I am currently teaching, I was amazed that he felt the job of dealing with the students as challenging. I thought that did not have what it takes to survive in an environment dominated by ambitious students. I felt that he was afraid that the students did not appreciate his efforts in the teaching environment, thus leading him to tire of the dealing with them. In the field of academics, however, I am still relatively fresh with no significant groundwork on how to cope with the diverse terrifying situations associated with the institution. Nevertheless, I feel that I already understand the various exhaustions and frustrations that may lead a college professor to feel as if he had wasted his career while dealing with challenging students. During my initial encounters with my students two years ago, I came across a paper, which a student argued that John Lenin had utilized his Beatles career to serve as a stepping-stone for controlling Russia. I also came across another one that stipulated that in the early 1990s, practices, such as homosexuality and adultery did not exist. Based on the initial encounter with the two papers, I started questioning whether the students had any significant knowledge concerning what they were writing.
I did not wish to start judging the misconceptions by the students initially as my pedagogue drove me to correct them. Considering myself as an educated person, I used to shake my head as well as laugh whenever I came across such vital misconceptions. At times, however, I would come to the realization that I am the one responsible for marking the papers after devoting more than 14 hours daily during the workdays in educating the students to ensure that they get the concepts right. As such, I would often sit wondering whether this is what I should devote my entire life to depending on the encounters I had with the numerous challenging students. I would even question whether I was capable of making any difference in the lives of the students as they showed no signs of progress even after the numerous efforts I applied to ensure captured the relevant concepts.
Whenever I was in class with my students, the question repeated itself in my mind every time I heard the cell phones of the students ringing in class or whenever I realized that the essay a student wrote was gathered directly from Wikipedia. At other times, the students that attained a D during the initial submission fail to make any improvements in the following draft. I also wished that the students would talk to me in case they needed any suggestions in writing an influential paper. I realized that every time I repeated the question that prevailed in my mind, it would be possible to apply more profanity based on the frustration I went through with the students. Because of these frustrations, I started realizing that the teaching profession is a daunting one, particularly when one is forced to deal with students with diverse, challenging students. Therefore, I considered reflecting on my past to determine whether my professors felt challenged, or failed to things that might help me cope with the present situation, or if I can learn something new from the students despite their uncooperative behavior in the learning environment.
Presently, I understand self-awareness, self-regulation, and motivation in ways that I did not before serving as an educator in my present environment. I have realized that considering the students as tiring, disrespectful, and annoying is worth reviewing to understand the reasons behind such acts fully. For instance, during my undergraduate years, I used to portray significant respect toward my professors. However, when looking at the students I usually deal with, I often see as if they are mocking the efforts I apply to make them better students. When I look at the encounters I have with my students, I can now look back and understand why the individuals who have been in the profession for most of their lives direct so much frustration toward their students. The situation is usually depressing when one realizes that the experience within the college shows signs of degradation to an extent that it is incomparable to my college years when we used to show significant excitement upon attaining new knowledge.
I frequently recount an essay from one my former teacher and a good friend, which stipulated that the dream we currently dream concerning the way things used to be is no longer true, while it is more fantastical as it is the case with other types of goals. Indeed, while embarking on my efforts to educate the young adults, I have come to realize that my individual memory has somehow erased my past, mostly because of the detriments I go through for having to face the students who make my life challenging. I even remember when one student in my class considered himself as showing significant respect toward his professors although he usually fell asleep during the introductory English classes in the morning hours. I also recall a time when he handed in a research paper that lacked works cited page since he believed in other things that he considered as better than editing his work before handing it in. In this case, I now realize that students have different perceptions of life and education itself. Therefore, it is the role of the educators to consider reviewing the various situations of the learners to determine the forces behind their unusual behavior to determine the ideal ways of coping with them.
Furthermore, considering the activities I undertook during my college years if anyone tried telling me that the behavior I exercised portrayed disrespect toward my professors, I would have been dismayed and sad as well. I used to represent profound respect toward my teachers. When reflecting on my sociology professors and others, for instance, I perceived them as the smartest individuals I had ever come across. I believed I have the capacity to ask any question that troubled me and argued that the answer they offered me was the correct one. The obvious intelligence they portrayed made them appear self-assured, confident, and intimidating to a person who only possessed several book collections. Therefore, even though I showed important respect for the obvious intelligence they portrayed as well as values and the profound insights they instilled in me, the admiration I had for them hindered me from asking questions that I believed they were capable of answering. The fear I had for appearing fooling led me to opt for ignorance, which is the same situation I am encountering with the students my students.
From my dealings with the students as well as when focusing on my previous life as a student, I believe I have realized that all people have something to offer irrespective of whether they are students or educators. As an assistant professor as well as an average person, I am quite aware of the ignorance that prevails in me even during the present day. Furthermore, I am mindful of the fact that the professors I used to idealize and idolize must have understood the limitations of their knowledge while they encountered similar doubts that I am still facing to this day. Therefore, one of the things associated with being a learned person revolves around accepting the notion that we do not know everything. As a student, I should have taken the time to overcome my ignorance and ask the right questions to my professors, irrespective of whether I believed they had the answers to them or not. By doing so, I would have managed to identify my weaknesses earlier, thereby prepare me adequately with diverse ways of handling my future career.
When reflecting on my learning and teaching career, I am afraid that if the students of today do not realize the need for identifying the kind of ignorance that characterizes a considerable number of learners, they might assume that the superiority offered by the knowledge we have downgraded them. They might also believe that I am judging them for the ignorance they portray. They might also think that we usually judge them if they direct their ignorance toward us by raising questions they suspect we may be having answers. In this perspective, therefore, it is vital to embark on guiding the students toward identifying the various forms of weaknesses they portray in the learning environment, thereby allow them to be well equipped in matters concerning education and in their interactions with educators.
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