Friday, February 6, 2009

To Teach or Not To Teach

My class at the community college used to be filled to overflowing. The maximum was 15 students, and there was usually a waiting list. The Economy (with a capital E) has changed all that. Belt tightening is no longer just a good idea; it’s a reality. Enrollment is down on all three campuses, but whether to teach or not to teach is completely up to me. Last semester, I decided not to.

Even though we had enough students for the college to break even financially, I reasoned that if anyone dropped out, and people always do, the group would be too small to be effective. The result was that I missed teaching, and the students I never met missed out on what could have been a great experience. This semester, the same choice has presented itself: teach or cancel the class.

This time, I am going to teach.

What is the worst thing that could happen? Well, the class could turn into the world’s smallest writing group. Actually, it couldn’t be any smaller than the time we started with six people, instantly dropped to four, and ended up with two. Those two showed up every week of a frigid winter semester, and one of them turned out to be a close friend.

It could be group made up of introverts in which no one talks. Of course, in all my years of teaching, that has never happened. While it’s true that more than one true introvert in a tiny group can put a lot of pressure on the others to carry the ball, how likely is a room full of people who don’t participate? Not very.

I guess I could go on with all the “worst things,” but that seems a pointless exercise. A better approach would be to wear my favorite sweatshirt on the first night of class and let the Fates take care of the rest.


Mrs. Wryly said...

Hi Bobbi,

I was just wondering today if you were going to teach your class! I'm glad you're going to do it. There are books that need to be proposed, and writers that need for you to show them the way.

Good luck! I like your sweatshirt.