I've talked about teaching at the community college level before, but today a new benefit made itself known to me. Each semester, as I begin teaching literature (either in a Comp class or in a Lit class), it is inevitable that a student challenges all my long-held beliefs about the worth of my subject matter. As I explain once again why I see literature as valuable to a student who may never read another poem, story, or play outside of my class, and who may be more concerned with how to pay this month's electricity bill than how to write a literary analysis, I am forced to stop and think and put myself in that student's shoes.
I ask my students simply to give the literature a chance. I ask them to be open-minded and curious. Today, I was reminded that I need to be the same with my students. My hope is that we all learn something from each other by the end of the semester.
Today, I am grateful to be teaching such diverse students, who may yet teach me more about the literature that I love.