The Ultimate Power Hobby

Who knew? Apparently, college teaching is the ultimate power hobby for deep pocketed bankers, attorneys, and business executives.

Make me laugh. Cohen isn’t teaching, he’s presenting. Big difference.

I present sometimes. Fly in, fly out. Lecture hit and run. When you have one at bat, it’s relatively easy to hit a double or triple. Cohen takes the train from New York City to Philly and a club car back home four-five hours later. Half a day a week. Nothing wrong with presenting, just don’t conflate it with teaching which is far more challenging.

Presenting is to hook up as teaching is to marriage.

Mike, my ace colleague, conferenced one-on-one with about half of his writing seminar students in his office one day earlier this week. I couldn’t help but overhear the specific, caring, insightful feedback he provided each person. He listened as each explained “what they meant” and he skillfully lightened things based upon the hearty laughing emanating from his open office. Taught his ass off.

I taught all last Sunday (sorry God, help me not procrastinate). Read twelve first year students papers, made numerous comments on each and then followed up with concluding paragraphs in which I explained each person’s clearest strengths and most important next steps.

When Mike and I work together each year to figure out how best to tweak our teacher education courses based upon Washington State’s continually shifting standards, we’re teaching. When we revise our courses based upon student evaluations, we’re teaching. When we serve on university committees, we’re taking responsibility for faculty governance, and contributing to the institution’s greater good. When we advise students, and administer programs, and write accreditation reports, we’re in essence teaching. We continually swap teaching stories and ideas about how to strengthen our craft.

If you were to visit our classrooms you’d witness just one of many different teaching activities that we engage in day in and day out, semester after semester, year after year, decade after decade.

Sorry Counselor if I can’t welcome you into the community of teachers who work tirelessly, selflessly, and up close with students on their behalf. But by all means, enjoy your presenting gig.

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