Three Years (and the end of the toiling)

Today was a special day, for a couple of reasons:

gradCapFirst, the important: I am finished school. I marked nearly two hundred assignments in three bleary, headache-inducing days, starting Friday evening at 8pm, and working nearly straight through (with breaks for occasional nourishment and cat naps) until the wee hours of Monday morning. It was roughly 2am or so when I called it quits and wearily trundled my oatmeal-filled brain to bed.

I still have mountains of administrative work ahead of me, and my graduating class (the first!) of DMT and Graphic Design students are having an open house at the end of the week, so it’s not over yet. But now that we have completed the last week of classes, and I smashed through all of my marking (like the Hulk, but not as pensive), the bulk of my work is done.

The end of the school year is a gigantic, massive relief. I really do feel like I’ve been birthing gargantuan acorns out of both ears for the past eight months, and the pressure (and pain) of the whole process has finally started to abate. One thing I’ve learned throughout this is that a big part of teaching is:

  1. Overcoming dozens of completely different, often wildly conflicting personalities, sometimes simultaneously and for prolonged periods of time, and

  2. Overcoming one’s own personality day in, and day out.

#1 is very hard. Students come to class with all kinds of personal agendas, and not all of them pertain to the furthering of their own education. #2, however, is the most incredibly difficult of them all, especially for me.

Contrary to what some people may think, I am not an overwhelmingly social person. If I had to choose, I would throw my penny into the “introvert” fountain; I function adequately around people, but I would rather just be off by myself.

Teaching is inherently social. This is the conundrum, as I often do not feel social. But, I’ve come to realize that teaching is really just a job like any other, and I’ve gotten pretty good at turning on when I have to.

All of this said, though, I felt a pang of sadness on Friday as my students handed in their final projects and said good-bye for the summer. I’ve grown quite fond of most of them, and have come to really enjoy getting to know them and seeing them learn and grow as designers. The school will echo with their absence.

cupcakeBut, it’s time for some rest. We all deserve it.

The other important fact about today (well, at least important to me) is that today was the third anniversary of the BeatnikPad. Three years ago I signed up for a Blogger account, threw together a somewhat weak three-column design, and started adding my voice to the then slowly growing din of online narcissists writers.

This web site has lead to many good friendships with people from all over the world, helped me find gainful employment more than once, enabled me to learn new things about the web, design, and myself, and much more. Thanks, BeatnikPad, and happy birthday.

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