My dear students,
I’m in love with you. I enjoy teaching you. Every week, I’m looking forward to discussing with you again. In my classroom, you seem to be engaged. We always have lively discussions. I often have to cut you short, because we have reached the end of our period. As in every classroom, there are always some of you who have more to say. But it is okay to listen quietly. You wouldn’t be here if you weren’t interested. And your assignments usually prove your interest and your engagement with the course’s topics.
I started teaching university courses in 2011. I was quite young when I started. Many of my students were my age, some even older. That has changed since then. We are not the same age anymore. Although I met a few of you at a party once. That was a tiny bit awkward–for all of us, I think. My first seminar felt catastrophic. I had no idea what I were doing. I had my syllabus. I had observed countless professors in the courses I attended as a student. But observing and doing suddenly felt so completely different.
Since then, I’ve come a long way. I learned teaching in academia. I tried new teaching methods. I think I improved a lot. But I wouldn’t have improved so much without you. Without your feedback. Without your support. You may not know it. But we rely on you. We (well, most of us, I guess) are nervous when we have to stand in front of a new class. We are anxious to teach you in a way that you might remember a few bits and pieces afterwards. And personally, I wish that you have fun in my class! But, most importantly, I wish that you feel that my classroom is a safe environment for you–physically, emotionally, and mentally.
Today, I asked you to discuss a few topics central to our course. I observed you in your smallish discussion groups. Most of you contributed. And when you presented the results in front of the classroom, you didn’t seem to be too nervous. And rightly so! You did really well. I enjoyed listening to your ideas and approaches.
I am proud of you, my dear students.
Your Struggling Anthropologist