Friday, April 25, 2014

Five Reasons I Love Teaching on a College Campus (and an update)

Today reminded me yet again why I love working on a college campus. Let me list some of those reasons for you.

1. I get to work in a gorgeous setting. The building I teach in is old. Really old. And it's surrounded by flowering trees that make going into work at 7:00 a.m. . . . dare I say . . . nice?

2. I get to hear amazing speakers for free. This morning I went to chapel to hear Canon Andrew White, also known as the Vicar of Bagdhad. I will go hear Canon White any chance I can because A) he's hilarious, B) he encourages students to "take risks, not care," and C) he absolutely LOVES Wheaton College (even more than his beloved Cambridge, he boldly admitted today). This morning he solidified my admiration by making the entire chapel sing "I've Got the Joy, Joy, Joy, Joy Down in My Heart" together. 

There might have been a couple of tears.

(For a really interesting interview with Canon White click here.)

3. I get to see crazy campus capers. Apparently, today was "Dick's Day" on campus (in honor of one of our former presidents, I assume). It's an annual tradition whereby students conduct a "Braveheart" style joust or something like that in the middle of campus. Everyone was there, faces painted, and it was hilarious. 

They even had bagpipes.

4. I get to have lunch with amazing students. One of my students from the fall of 2012 keeps in touch, and we have lunch together every few months. Today I listened to her tell me about her year and what she's learning in her classes, how her relationships with her siblings have gotten better, how she's going to serve God in Amsterdam this summer, and as she spoke I realized that I was seeing real change in this girl. She's growing. She's learning more about herself and others. She's loving intentionally. 

And I thought, what a privilege that I get to witness this!

5. I get to watch the lightbulb go off. If you've never experienced it, you won't know what I mean, but when you watch a student struggle over their work, then suddenly they get it--they've worked out a sentence just so or they narrowed their thesis until they have something workable or, best of all, they recognize their own mistakes!--there's nothing like it in the world. That moment makes everything worthwhile.

Oh, I have my days when I wish I could be free from the bondage of grading papers, to have time to travel, and to have more hours in the day to write (that's for sure!), but then I look around at all I do have, and I realize how blessed I am to rub shoulders with these students. 

And so, with that in mind, I have to tell you something. Remember the post I wrote a couple of months ago about being in a time of transition? Yeah, well, that. 

A couple of weeks after I wrote that post, my department chair called to say that some things had come up and they needed me to come back next year after all. I had a day (!) to make up my mind, and I'm still surprised that I said yes. I had so adjusted to the thought of doing other things next year that I was getting quite excited about it.

But, hey, when a door opens, you've gotta walk through it, right? 

So, actually, the transition continues, but just in a different way. My mind is still reeling, trying to get around the thought of teaching again next year, but I'm excited. 

It feels right to be able to still be in a place where kids still joust, a room full of (nearly) adults sings preschool Sunday School songs together, and lightbulbs never dim.


  1. And now I'm wondering if this YOUR "situation"?
    I can see how you were preparing for one thing and another opened up out of the blue! Life. It just keeps on happenin'.

  2. Congratulations, Shelly.


  3. Um, Glenda? I'm not sure this is anything to be congratulated about, but thanks anyway! :)

  4. Thankful for you, Shelly! God bless!