The Joys of Teaching

It’s been a busy couple of weeks since my last post. Much of my time has been spent completing revisions to my dissertation after my defense last month. I deposited the final version of the dissertation with the University of Wisconsin late last week, which means that I have completed my doctoral degree (although I won’t get a paper diploma until October or November). I am now done with graduate school and rapidly making the transition to my next stage in life.

I accepted a position this spring with Seton Hall University in South Orange, New Jersey, as an assistant professor of higher education in the Department of Education Leadership, Management, and Policy. When visiting the university on my flyout, I was impressed with both the focus on teaching and the quality of the graduate students and faculty. Although I certainly enjoy doing research, I could have had the freedom to research many topics of interest in non-university positions—or even worked for one of the university research centers around the country. My insistence on the academic path was driven by my desire to teach, as well as to do research.

While I know that not all university faculty members truly enjoy teaching, it is rare that someone will actually state their dislike in public. This is why I found a piece in last week’s Chronicle of Higher Education to be extremely interesting. In that piece, an associate professor in the humanities (writing under a pseudonym) detailed why he/she has disliked teaching in the past. The article did not state the type of institution (teaching or research intensive) that the professor teaches at, but is still disconcerting nonetheless. I am concerned about what happens to students in classes that faculty don’t like to teach—particularly large, introductory courses at research institutions.

I’m looking forward to spending part of my summer preparing materials for my courses in the next academic year. And if I ever say that I dislike teaching in general, please remove me from the profession.

Author: Robert

I am an assistant professor of higher education at Seton Hall University. All opinions are my own.