Thursday, September 28, 2006

The Freshmen, My God, The Freshmen - What Are We Going to Do About the Freshmen

I never wanted to be the one who turned his back on freshmen. As a junior faculty member, I always hated those older colleagues who ran from freshmen courses and spent their dwindling and precious time with upper level students and graduates. I always swore that would not be me.

And in the early days, of course, I had no problem keeping my vow. I had to teach a certain amount of first year courses, and so I found ways to do it, found ways to meet the challenge of what was basically a room full of high school students. I told myself I loved their freshness, their energy.

But now I find myself at mid-career (or so), and when my Dean sent around the Spring class schedule, I put a clean stroke through my name next to our department's intro level course, and replaced it with a senior-only course.

The freshmen. I can't do it another day. I can't tell them to shush, to bring their notebooks to class, to please quit bothering Kayla. To please put on something other than pajama pants and beach shoes. I can't take another one asking if we could have class outside, or "Can I use the bathroom?" (I don't know. can you?)

I don't want to teach "college" anymore to them. I don't want to explain where the cafeteria is or where the library is. I don't want to hold their hands. I don't want them to tell me their dad might be giving me a call.

I just want the freshmen to go away.