MLK HOLIDAY ’05: THE CAUSE FOR WHICH HE FOUGHT IS STILL A CAUSE, AND THE DREAM FOR WHICH HE DIED IS STILL A DREAM

On the brief, five minute walk from the kids’ bus stop to my office last week, I was bothered by a familiar feeling. The first three days of the week I had “wasted” too much time dealing with students (enrollment in class, getting together course materials, etc.). All I had to look forward to on this day, too, was class related work. As I walked, I racked my brain thinking about my schedule for the day, wondering when I would be able to squeeze in some “real” work.

This uneasy and unwanted feeling is one of the legacies of working at Our Lady’s University for six-plus years. I was socialized at OLU to see students as taking time away from my real work. How ironic, since I became a professor precisely because I wanted to spend time with students.

One of the attractions of Wake Forest University for me, then, is its focus on undergraduate education. So, I’m excited to be at an institution whose educational values are more in line with my own. (Or so it seems. Of course, I have been fooled already by OLU, so I’m more guarded about professed values vs. institutional realities now. I mean, I embarrassed to say now that I bought OLU’s rhetoric hook, line, and sinker.)

My experience last week made me see that this deeply ingrained feeling of alienation from students may take some time to shake. It may take me a while to embrace fully the time I get to spend working with students and working on classes; to see them as my real work rather than a distraction from my real work. Who knew that getting back to my professorial roots would take work?

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