Sunday, February 21, 2010

"Coolest Professor"

This weekend I went to Homecoming festivities for the university where I work. This year, rather than random events planned by each college, "tailgating" was determined to be the thing to do. In previous years, my college had done a "wine and cheese" event that was sparsely attended at best.

We don't have a football team, so any type of homecoming revolving around a game of any kind has to be basketball or baseball. Basketball it is! Consequently, homecoming is in February. Feels so incredibly odd to me. And, since it is February, you never know exactly what the weather will be. Cold, usually. Last weekend it snowed.

This weekend, however, was a balmy 66 degrees in the afternoon.

I wasn't sure that I would make it to "Tent City" - my ex-husband was a bit late picking up the girls, and I had some other things to take care of, but around 1:00 I headed over there thinking the event would be winding down. I couldn't have been more wrong! Hot dogs, chips, drinks, and a handful of my colleagues were at the College of Education tent. I spent the afternoon kicking back with my colleagues, eating, drinking beer, and just enjoying the fabulous weather. I even got sunburned? Yeah. I did. I took off the sweater I was wearing over my camisole and soaked up the sun for several hours. February! Who knew?

We didn't have a huge alumni turnout, but some of my students came by, including a group of seniors and a group of juniors. The juniors asked me to get in a picture with them, and I was highly amused when I came home to find that the picture had been uploaded to facebook and the caption was "Coolest professor ever... hands down." The seniors [not in my cohort] and I had a grand time talking. And one of them, after awhile, asked, "Do you have a tattoo?" To which I said, "No, why?" She then replied, "Of all of our professors, you seem most likely to." My response was, "Really??"

Basically, though, from conversations I've had, etc, this particular group of students sees me as real.

And I find that intriguing.

Why wouldn't we be real? There's still a power differential, certainly, but shouldn't there be an effort on both students and professors to get to know one another? Don't we teach about the importance of relationship and knowing the community where we teach? Why wouldn't I do the same thing?

On the other hand, while I've had students tell me how "good" I am, etc (although I would venture to say that cohorts PRIOR to these groups have a different view of me - no way I would have had a tattoo in their eyes), since I began teaching here, I do worry about the line. We're all available for our students, and we all care about our students, but it does seem that I get more invested in them than a number of our faculty. I worry sometimes that I get "too" invested. And I don't care about being the "coolest" - in some ways that implies "slack," and I know that isn't the case.

Meanwhile, this "cool"/"real" professor loves her job. How could I not?

And no. No tattoo. Yet.

No comments:

Post a Comment