Why Teaching is Worth It . . . . A Brief, Personal Story from my Class Today

Today I continued my lecture on textual criticism.  I set out to have the students put what I had covered in the previous lecture into practice in a situation where the stakes are a little higher.  We discussed the ending to Mark’s gospel.  I presented the textual evidence, then asked the class (of 60 freshmen) to make a case for which of the four endings to Mark is most originl.  What ensued was an excellent, thoughtful, engaged discussion that occupied the entire rest of the class period (about 40 minutes).  Dang, I have a great group.  At the end of class, after discussing briefly the implications of 16:8 as the ending to Mark’s gospel, I asked if I had totally scandalized the group.  One female student said, politely, “no, but you have given us a lot to think deeply about.”  That was pretty cool.

But here’s the cool thing.  After class I had two students come up and ask to do lunch with me on Wednesday.  I agreed.  One then proceeded to tell me that my class is the hardest out of all her classes and that I have the most reading out of any of her classes (even more, she said, than some of her friends who are in other sections of Bible intro).  But then she said to me the following: “But we’re staying in your class, and the reason we’re staying in your class is because of you.”  That was a very important moment for me.  I thanked them for their kind words.  They do mean a lot. 

Seriously . . . . how cool is that?!  Now THAT is why I teach!

10 thoughts on “Why Teaching is Worth It . . . . A Brief, Personal Story from my Class Today

  1. Roy "Eli" Garton says:

    Kids will say the darnedest things, won’t they?! J/k Seriously, though, I’m sure that was a really cool moment. 🙂

  2. John Anderson says:

    Roy: Thanks! They are a sharp group. So far, so good. Of course, they’ll probably be cursing me after our first test. But to have a freshman say they are willing to stay in my class and do extra work because of ME . . . . that was pretty sweet indeed.

    Mike: It is awesome! This past week I have been affirmed . . . . this is exactly what I want to do. Ideally, research-professor (a synthesis of both) is what I’m shooting for, because I think staying current and conversant with scholarship, and contributing one’s own voice to the discussions, is vital for solid teaching as well.

  3. John Anderson says:

    Michael: Thanks, buddy. Unfortunately, my lecture yesterday on Biblical chronology, geography, and periodization was not as stimulating!

    David: Thanks, I think (wink). I do hope when you get to teaching you have similar experiences. It makes it worth it. Very.

  4. Jason says:

    John: I majored in Geography in college and it would take quite a stimulating lecture to keep my interest! My biblical geog. class in seminary was not my favorite, though the prof was great. Weird, I know! 😉

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