• I enjoy shaking my students up. I enjoy shaking them out of complacency. I enjoy when they say, "I totally don't believe in any of the things that seem to be foundational to this course but I'm excited to see what I might learn."
  • I enjoy when they're all talking and all I'm doing is saying "Ok, you're 1, you're 2, and you're 3, 4, and 5," and they just talk and talk and talk about the material.
  • I enjoy when I read a reaction paper that says "I was worried when I took this course that it would be a 60-year-old woman who hadn't had sex in three years teaching it" mainly because I'm vain and that means that they think I actually have regular sex just from looking at me:) (Perhaps that's too much information, but it did make me feel better about myself today.)
  • I enjoy that I have students who are freaked out about difficult material and they email me to say that they don't know how to ask for help, even though that is actually asking for help, because they're comfortable enough with me to know that I won't judge them for being totally insecure. (And the material is wicked-difficult, and this student is awesome, and I love that this student is that comfortable with me and at least intuitively knows I won't judge her.)
  • I enjoy those moments when I'm teaching material that shocks them where they think that what I've built up as shocking is totally fine and normal.
  • I enjoy when my students notice the language of a text - talk about it as great writing - when it challenges their persona belief systems.
  • I enjoy that I know what's going on in my students' lives and when that contributes to my interactions with them, even though I like at first to come off as a meanie.
  • I enjoy that so many of my lit majors who've taken multiple classes with me and who are brilliant and engaged have absolutely no interest in grad school but rather that, because of what they've read in my classes, they would rather become novelists (Literary novelists, at that). Because they'd rather make art than criticize it.
  • I enjoy that my students seem to think that the books that I choose for them to read are fun to read (and yes, this is another vain thing, but still).
  • I enjoy that students are engaged enough to take classes with me that are outside of their immediate areas of interest, just because they learn from me (god, I'm so vain. I bet I think this song is about me).
  • I enjoy when my students say a brilliant thing that has nothing at all to do with me but rather with what they bring to the texts that I teach ( and this is ultimately more gratifying and more interesting than all the things I've listed about me).
And, at the end of the day, I enjoy teaching because I *totally* enjoy just getting to know my students. I enjoy when they resist me, and I enjoy when they have that epiphanic moment in a class that changes the way they've thought about things. I enjoy teaching students who are non-majors and showing them that literature is for them, too, even if it's not something they're totally invested in as a career path. I enjoy that moment when they realize that they're not just taking a course for a requirement but when they're actually getting something out of it.

So those are things that I enjoy about teaching. I'm sure there are more, but those are the ones that occur to me right at this moment.

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