In the spring of 2006, a student came to my office to tell me that she had decided to become a professor and would continue her studies after graduation. I was surprised. This student had been disengaged for most of the semester and showed little interest in anything that went on in the classroom, at least from what I could tell.
Still, if there’s one thing I’ve learned over the years, it’s that you never really know what goes on in students’ heads as they sit there staring back at you. And I get a lot of stares.
“That’s great news,” I said. “So, what made you decide that?”
I sat up. Something about my teaching had inspired her.
“Really? What about it?”
“Well,” she said. “All you do is come into the classroom and start talking. So, I thought, how hard could it be?”
Now you can find out just how hard. Next month you will be able to purchase How Hard Could It Be? Teaching as Agonistes, an ebook collection of your favorite blog posts on teaching. It will include posts on the imagination, President Lincoln, failure, student engagement, and even classroom sabotage.
So, be on the lookout. Teaching as Agonistes may prepare you for that day when a student comes to your office and tells you that they want to be just like you. In the meantime, enjoy this excerpt from one of my favorite scholars on teaching and learning, George Steiner.