Prompted perhaps by my reading of Michelle's reflections on teaching for the first time this semester,* on the way home from getting a haircut just now, I decided to figure out how many students I've taught over the years. I started teaching in Fall 1999, so I'm still relatively new at it, and I was surprised to realize that I've taught four hundred and eight students. I have interacted with four hundred and eight students. Four hundred and eight people have known me in that capacity, in the role of teacher. Wow. Makes me wonder how many students John has taught. Or anyone else, if you want to count, please post your number.

* I haven't said so enough in the comments to your blog, Michelle, but no, you're not the only one who thinks/feels what you're thinking/feeling, and yes, these things happen to everyone. :-)

UPDATE: D'oh! That number's wrong. I forgot that there are several students who have taken more than one course I've taught. I'll do a recount and post the new number later tonight. For now, I'm off to a little soirée.

SECOND UPDATE: Okay, the number is actually 396. Still, though, 396 people! It has made me think a lot about the magnitude of what teachers do and take teaching even more seriously.


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Somewhere in the 280s. Eep. Hope I'm doing something right.

(I'm not even gonna think about the people I've tutored or otherwise advised, because that'd be a much bigger number.)

Ain't nothin' but a number

Yeah, quantity is misleading, for sure. I taught at Tennessee, and those two years of 2-2 loads with classes capped at 25 made up a big chunk of mine. Now that I have a 2-1 load, the number is growing more slowly. And what about those who teach large lecture classes? High number, but very little interaction.

lots and lots

I just did a quick calculation and the number is over 3,000. That seems like a lot, since I teach small sections that are capped at 20 students and I really get to know the students pretty well. But I've got a 4/4 teaching load and I've been teaching for a while ....

I've taught about 1500 studen

I've taught about 1500 students in college, and as a writing assistant in the high schools, worked with about 4,000. The next question is: how many of your students can you remember by name and face? I remember names or faces, but rarely both!

reassurance of the reaction(s)!

I have 105 my first semester. Three classes capped at 35. (Can you believe that cap is a recently lowered number? Apparently, prior to this semester, it was 42, ye gads.)

Thanks for the reassurance! :)


the number

I don't think the number is a right thing to count on. What really matters is that I've had experienced the profession and feel like doing something meaningful or worth memorizing, my students, my colleagues, some of my classes, sorrows. Honestly, 4-year teaching at high school and another 2 years at college has left me a lot to look back, and all together provided me with great vigor to go on.

And still counting...

Since you asked, Clancy, I've done some rough calculations. In three years as a teaching assistant at University of Utah and 40 years now at Foothill and De Anza Colleges, the number is right around 11,000. But that includes 9 years of deaning when I taught half-loads (and occasionally less). 75-80% of those students were in composition sections, both developmental and FYC. I have taught summer sessions most years, so that added to the total. Oh, I forgot that in the early years I would teach overloads, so probably that's several hundred more.

I had a colleague in the Business division whose son took my comp course in the early years. Later, the son's wife was my administrative assistant when I was dean. Still later, their daughter took my FYC course. When she turned her final in, she said, "Maybe someday my child will have you for composition." Well, she married a nice guy from Stanford and they have a little girl about age 5---so if I can just hang on... : )

By the way, that example is one reason we call them "community" colleges.

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