The Joys of Teaching

The past few weeks have flown by. This semester I am teaching Texas History, Mexican American History, and four sections of First Year Seminar (which is basically an “Introduction to Critical Thinking” course). I have around 130 students, and I have an exceptionally talented group of students. 

My students in Texas and Mexican American History are blogging instead of having tests and quizzes, and they are doing a really nice job. For the first week, students mostly wrote about their personal backgrounds. Week two blogs are due this evening!

So far in Texas History we have talked about “What is Texas History,” geopolitics, the Texas textbook/education war, geography, and biography. We did a really awesome activity yesterday whereby we deconstructed the atlas we are using for the course. Students came up with 36 things the book does not include that it really should. (I always get a student in the class to write on the board for us.) We talked about possible reasons and consequences.

IMG_1254 IMG_1255

In Mexican American History, we’ve discussed the historiography of the field, the White/Black Binary, and Ancient and Medieval Iberia. This class is small enough we can all sit in a circle each class! 

In the First Year Seminar, we’ve talked about the notion of citizenship to the institution, categories of critical thinking, active learning, formal structures that can be used to critically think, and the common reader for all new students. We did one activity, adapted from Michael Wesch, where we discussed what the classroom walls say. Here’s a picture of what the Wednesday am class came up with.

IMG_1252 Teaching students and learning from students continues to be extremely exciting, fun, challenging, and what keeps me going. 


Categories: Thoughts and Perspectives

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10 replies

  1. Keeps me going too. This is my 26th year of teaching at Alvin CC. I am as excited as ever and my classes are so energizing! Sorry I didn’t run into you last week Andrew. Hope to see you this coming T or Th.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Hi Johanna! Teaching really is the absolute best. I know the students feed off of your wonderful energy and get even more excited about the material. I missed not seeing you, too! Have a good long weekend! Maybe we can have lunch soon.


  2. This is so fascinating! I would love to see updates throughout the semester so we can really see how your pedagogical (andragogical – Andrewgogical!) methods pan out through 15 weeks.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Hey Trevor, thank you!! I’ll for sure be posting updates. I gave the FYS students the option to do a blog too – and one is doing it so far. I hope more take that option! And yes, let’s just call my style Andrewgogical! ;). Do you think you might ever be able to do blogs for Spanish – it might not even work IDK.


  3. So professor Pegoda, would you say that part of being an educator means that you have to be willing to listen to new information that your students may know,and that you learn something new in each class ever year as well? I feel like this is a silly question to ask because you obviously have a higher education than myself so I feel you know plenty but I guess the reason I ask is because I myself am interested in pursuing the education as well and I am always interested to hear how each year teaching differs.

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    • Thanks so much for reading and commenting!! A huge, huge part –yes– of being an educator is learning from students. Sometimes it is learning how to better teach or learning how to teach a different group or different individual but it is also very important for me to learn ideas, perspectives, and so on from my students. We all have so many unique experiences, and I love learning from you and others. 🙂 What all kinds of education are you interested in?


    • I could probably go on about this forever because it truly is a passion of mine but preschoolers are without a doubt my favorite age to teach. I currently carry a certificate in early childhood and I actually taught for 6 years in a Catholic preschool. There is something truly rewarding about watching young children learn and like you I agree that each year I learn something different from the kids.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. When classes are this energizing for you – and for some of those who are commenting here – it is what my husband liked to call ‘your dharma.’ Time stops. If you’re sick when you enter the classroom, you’re not sick until it’s over. And on and on and on. It’s fascinating, wonderful, and crazy cool!

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