I haven’t written for a while because I’ve been so busy getting some things ready for an ETSY store (!), but had to share what just happened in my class.
I teach a class on-campus this summer, and as I was preparing my materials before class began, one of my students asked this question: “Are you crazy?” I laughed, thinking he was joking. Then he asked it again…with a very serious look on his face! I told him I wasn’t sure what he meant and he said I was over-the-top with my energy and enthusiasm and that I might want to tone it down a notch. I was gobsmacked!
Really? I have too MUCH energy and enthusiasm for what I teach?? I told him I was sorry my teaching style didn’t meet his expectations and he said this: “Maybe you could not look at where I’m sitting…making eye contact with you so much seems weird!”
You know, I honestly was REALLY hurt by his comments, and the other students were obviously stunned, and then mad. A few challenged him and said they liked having an instructor with so much energy and that made them feel they were being ‘seen’ in the classroom.
Have we come to a place in our society where we can’t be excited? Where showing too much enthusiasm for something we are passionate about it wrong? Has this young man never had a teacher that was fired up? Excited about talking to the class? Delighted to be sharing this time with others and teaching them all they can about their subject? Is it wrong to be so ‘out-there’? Should I just go into class…stand at the desk…and talk?
All of my life, I’ve been told to calm down! Really! I get too stirred up about holidays…trips…nights out…movies…etc. “Now just calm down, Kristi…don’t get so excited!” But why? Shouldn’t these things MAKE me excited? Isn’t that the point? To have fun and enjoy myself?
I’m sure I’ll be thinking about what this student said to me all day. And I’m already alternating between feeling foolish to feeling like I should be energized in the classroom.
You know, it just breaks my heart this is the first time my student experienced someone like me. But I certainly hope it’s not the last.