I am a full-time administrator with more-than-full-time responsibilities, or so it seems. Each year, the administrative chores pile higher and deeper around me. It seems I’d want to let go of the extra class I teach each term, either after-hours or online, to make life a little less complicated. No one forces me to teach, after all.
But I can’t bear the thought of giving up teaching. I remember when I first started teaching night classes at LSUE in the early nineties. Even after teaching all day in the junior high or high school where I earned my day check, I always had more energy when I left the night class at 8:30 p.m. than I had when I went in to start at 6:00. Now how does that make sense? I occasionally explain it to friends like this: “I administrate to make a living, but I live to teach.”
The last few days provide a case in point. My colleague in Liberal Arts was in a staffing crisis after one of her English faculty dragged up a week or so ago and left three classes dangling without a teacher. Ordinarily, I do not teach during the day because that activity interferes with the demands of the administrative job, but the University was in a bind, so I got the call: “Are you interested in taking the class?”
My first thought was, “No, that’s insanity, because I’m besieged and beset. Only a fool would say ‘Yes.’”
That was my first thought.
But my first words were, “Sure, I’ll take it.”
So I stuffed another preparation under my belt to give me something to do this weekend between LSU and Saints games and working outside in the yard. I sweated out the prep quite a bit, especially as I realized that I would have to make a business trip out of town Monday morning that would keep me from having time to psych myself up and focus on the task of meeting this new class at the high noon meeting time.
Yeah, “High Noon.” Like the classic western, there was some serious drama built up around this meeting–a week before mid-term, a strange teacher taking over a class that had done nothing since the beginning of the semester and convincing the learners now that everything’s going to be OK because we can cram 15 weeks of work into the next eight weeks, and we’ll have sooooo much fun reading and writing and learning together!
So this really was a stressful undertaking, and along with several other sources of stress already built in to the beginning of this week from other projects, I found myself considerably wound up and tense all morning.
So how did the first class meeting turn out? Predictably, I left after fifty minutes of teaching with a lighter gait than I had going in to the classroom. The burden of the wound up tension that weighted me down all morning was lifted, and my mood and disposition were bright for the rest of the day. I felt free, if that makes any sense. And the world just seemed like a nicer, friendlier place after spending fifty minutes with students in a class.
Yes, Lord, it must be a calling. Thanks!