Although there are millions of school children that consider this to be one of the worst times of the year, I always liked the beginning of the new school year. And with school starting in two weeks for the majority of New Jersey’s school-aged population, I’m sure that a lot of these kids are hoping to get the best out of the remaining days of summer vacation as they can.
For me, though, I like this time of the year because I get to prepare my course that I teach at the local college. Since it is an “American National Government” course, I always have new information to put into my PowerPoints and new documents to make copies of for handouts. And, given the age group of the students that I’m teaching, I always get a lively discussion no matter what the topic. New topics for extended discussion this semester will include healthcare and paternalistic governments versus those governments that take a more hands-off approach.
I also enjoy getting a reading from the students on where they fall along the political spectrum. The reason why I enjoy this is because most of them consider themselves to be liberal, but once we start talking about an issue they advocate for traditionally conservative positions – a clear example that many of our young minds today are focused on doing what everyone else is doing…or what the loudest voice is doing. From the last couple of years teaching this course, I’ve discovered that most of the vocal students lean left, but that the best written papers are from those who lean right. Pretty odd occurrence, I think.
This semester I’ll also be teaching an online course for one of the oldest online colleges in the nation – Thomas Edison State College. TESC pioneered the idea of having older folks receive their Bachelor’s Degree via submitting a portfolio of their professional experience and receiving credit for it instead of actually having to go to class. Plus, they were the first online-only college (and they’re highly regarded, too).
The class that I’m teaching at TESC is an undergraduate course in nonprofit leadership. I’m looking forward to that one since it ties in directly with my own academic research as well as my day job. Should be a lot of fun coming up in the next few weeks!