Life as an Extreme Sport


I miss teaching. I don’t have a chance to do it formally at UAlbany right now, although I often end up the go-to person when it comes to anything French, continental, or bioethics-y. But the way its set up, there is a lot of competition to TA, and you have to be further along than I am to adjunct on your own.

It’s a funny thing to admit, in a way. Although I’ve known, since that first 390 Phillip dragged me kicking and screaming into teaching for, that I would become a teacher, it’s still strange to realize how much I miss it. How much I miss sparking people’s interest in a subject, seeing the ways other people understand the material, what they take from me, and what they give.

One of the many wisdoms Phillip left me with was the idea that some people learn best through reading, some through writing, some through teaching – and I very obviously learn best through teaching.

A little over a week ago, Johns Hopkins University Center for Talented Youth sent out a last minute job opening… to teach bioethics at their residential site at the University of California Santa Cruz. A position starting Thursday the 26th.

I took a deep breath, I threw my CV, my Stargate syllabus, and a whispered prayer, at the email address, and I waited. Before end of day, they had set up a phone interview.

I spent the next couple of days preparing, learning everything I could from people who’ve done this before. And interviewed for the job at 9am Monday morning. By 10am, they had offered me the position.

So in three days, I’m returning to a city I used to haunt as a teen, to teach a new crop of teens – some of whom probably weren’t even born the last time I was running around the Boardwalk. It’ll be a little over two weeks of intense coursework, smooshing an entire semester of work into that time. I’ve never done anything like this, and although I’m full of trepidation, I’m so very excited. Moreso, as it gets closer to time to leave. I’m going to miss my cats, my friends (and then some), spending the 4th of July with people I know, and small things I’m sure I’m not even thinking of and won’t until I’m gone.

But I’m also going to have a great time with 15 kids who want to learn about bioethics, in a beautiful place, on a great campus. And I’ll be putting another stone down on my own rambling, satisfying path.

(Granted, 10 minutes from now I’ll be back to freaking out about my still unformed syllabus and cleaning the house and trying to figure out every single thing I need to bring, but right now I’m going to sit here and enjoy my small moment of contentedness and serenity.)