Last year, after years of teaching one or more evenings a week and some Saturdays I made the decision to stop teaching night classes. At least once a week this year I rejoice aloud about that decision.
Training and teaching is others is fun, enlivening, stimulating and exciting. Finding answers to questions you’d never thought of; finding ways to explain concepts; hearing analogies from students as they grasp a concept — it’s heady stuff. So often I’d moan and groan about having to go out only to come home buzzing. There’s nothing quite like the rush of helping someone else learn and understand and take more power over their own life.
But even so, it is tiring. It’s hard work, and you have to think on your feet, even for topics you’ve taught hundreds of times before. And when you teach computer-based topics such as web design there’s the whole aspect of using a set of computers in circumstances you might not like. Perhaps there’s no (easy) Internet connection. Perhaps the computers are poorly maintained and you have to spend half an hour before class trying to assemble sufficient machines with the correct files and software and enough hard drive space. Perhaps you have a tight course and the administrators aren’t open to allocating more hours, or there’s a 20 minute fire drill in the middle of a two hour segment.
And let’s face it, people don’t set out to learn something they already know. Learning involves insecurity, nervousness, feelings of embarrassment and even shame, plenty of fear. Teaching and training involves fostering confidence, relieving fear and embarrassment as well as providing information, stimulating questioning and encouraging experimentation.
Then there’s the whole aspect of your evening being used up, your Saturdays disappearing, arranging meals around a 5.30 to 7.30 class, and a pretty poor rate of pay.
Today as I walked around Wilton’s Bush in mid-afternoon I was aware that last year it may not have been possible. Today everything came together: the desire to visit the Bush, a gorgeous sunny, still afternoon, a good morning’s work and the knowledge I have room in my timetable this week for the other work I need to complete. It was fun to skive1 for once, knowing I didn’t have to arrange my life around an evening commitment. I’ve reclaimed my life and it feels good. No more nightclasses! Yay!