Back in the Classroom

After a year away from teaching, I am back in the classroom. I have to admit it feels good. Though I have been ruminating about the differences in starting teaching at a new University as opposed to when I first started teaching on the college level.

William Jessup University

William Jessup University

When I first started teaching at Louisiana College I was 34 and one year removed from finishing my graduate work. I was brought in the head a small art department at a school that had undergone significant changes in the previous years. I was excited to teach and was looking forward to being the “young, cool” professor for a little while. That din’t last long. During my first week of teaching, one of my students managed to figure out how old I was. I came to class and she informed me, “You’re the same age as my Mom!” Ouch! okay I guess all chances at being young and cool left at that point. I spent four years at that college and really enjoyed the students. I was happy to see one freshman class all the way (almost) through their college education. I did teach one more year at a state school when I was in Louisiana but I knew several of the faculty and one of my previous students was doing her graduate work at that university so it didn’t at all feel like a fresh start. 

Wednesday was my first day at William Jessup University. I am just teaching part time while I work on my PhD but it is good and I enjoy interacting with students which was always my favorite part of teaching. It is a fresh start in the classroom at a new school teaching in a Creative Arts program that is also brand new. My thoughts are different than they were when I started teaching six years ago. At 40 years old, my chances of being the “young, cool” professor are pretty much gone. Instead, I am the professor that scares the students with how hard the class will be. I still have my humor and I joke with the kids…I guess I’ll settle for being the cool middle aged professor.

Okay, I’ll pretend this is class and let myself get distracted with a story. A couple of months ago, I was driving my teenage daughter and some of her friends around and I made a joke about being old. One of her friends corrected me saying I wasn’t old I was middle aged. Yikes! Old can be a joke…clearly I’m not using a walker or riding something from the Scooter Store. But middle aged? That is real! There is nothing funny there. So, add my daughter’s friend’s comment to the fact that I have a son the age of my students and I have to accept that I’m not the young professor anymore. I guess I’ll just have to try and impart some of my sage wisdom to them. Or, I can at least help them learn how to do 2-D Design.

Thankful for a fresh start.

Rondall Reynoso

Rondall is an artist, scholar, and speaker. He is currently an Assistant Professor at Lee University in Cleveland, TN. He holds an MFA in Painting and an MS in Art History from Pratt Institute in Brooklyn, NY and is completing a Ph.D. in Art History and Aesthetics from the Graduate Theological Union in Berkeley, CA.

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