Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Returning to School

A few days ago, I posted the question, "Who is more anxious about returning to school, the teachers or the students?" A friend of mine commented, "The parents."

Getting back into the school schedule is a challenge for all involved, but in the first week, standing in front of my first class, I was reminded of how much I enjoy being there.  Meeting new young people, with their own unique perspectives on life, on science, is so refreshing for me.

I can't say that I am looking forward to all of the course prep and piles of correcting that await me - I am teaching three college physics courses this semester.  But, these sacrifices are worth it, because the payoff is the time spent in class discussing physics.  A learning environment is a truly fortunate place to find oneself in.

I can appreciate the nerves from the students' perspectives.  Being a full-time student is hard these days.  Many of them work over twenty hours per week during the semester.  Some do it to pay for luxuries like cars and cell phones, but many do it to pay for their schooling as well as their bills at home.

Remarkably, some of these eighteen-year-old full-time students are living on their own, paying their own way.  I have a tremendous amount of respect, but also some sympathy for students in this situation.  I never had it so hard, and I can't imagine being able to enjoy my college years if I were placed in such trying circumstances.

Finding a life balance is a hard task for anyone.  Students and teachers alike need to plan their schedules carefully to maintain their mental health - to at the very least, survive, and in the best case, thrive.

I am looking at my busy schedule, wondering if it will be feasible for me to undertake some volunteer work with the Robotics Club at Vanier College.  As I struggle with this somewhat trivial decision, I remain humbled by students that I pass by in the halls, many of whom face far more daunting decisions than I.

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