Three years ago when I pulled out of the high school parking lot and drove my thirty minute commute home for the last time, I felt a sense of catharsis and anticipation. I loved teaching social studies, but I can’t honestly say I felt the same about other aspects of my job at the time. When I began working in the archives that summer and shortly thereafter found myself immersed in my coursework, I appreciated the change in my daily routine, but I really missed being in front of a classroom.
During the following winter, I thought it would be a good idea to contact one of my former instructors from the community college I attended to see if they needed a political science instructor for the summer semester. Initially he informed me they did not, but a month or so later he called to offer me an adjunct position and immediately I accepted.
Last night I began my third summer of teaching U.S. Government at the college, and it appears that I have another solid group of engaged, intelligent, and articulate students to work with (perhaps the best group ever). My informal assessment is based upon our introductory activities that included a lengthy discussion of the many responsibilities that governments and citizens have. As one might imagine, there were some divergent viewpoints expressed, but everyone shared their thoughts in a respectful manner.
I think one of the many reasons I really enjoy teaching this class is because it will be the only political science course most of my students take. So, it’s important to teach them to analyze different arguments surrounding controversial political issues as well as the function and accessibility of governing institutions. Much of the time it appears the body politic is disengaged from the process, but education is one way to challenge such harmful normative behavior.