Teaching can be amazingly satisfying, and incredibly frustrating... I often tell my students that when I began teaching I was, in fact, young and pretty, and that the grizzled, grey-bearded fountain of sarcasm they see before them is a result of past students slowly driving me insane. This is only half true. I've always been sarcastic, abrasive and mildly crazy, just not grey...
Having just wrapped up the spring semester, I'd like to offer some words of wisdom to my students, present and future. Words that I know will most likely never find them, since I'm not posting this to my instagram story.
Nonetheless, in no particular order...
Care about something. Anything, doesn't matter what. Have an opinion, any sort of opinion. Show some passion. It's ok to be wrong, just be something. "I don't know" is not a suitable answer to anything, ever, and I'm tired of hearing it. I would rather see you fail miserably in an epic fiery explosion than watch you eek out a resounding "meh." Put a little heart into it... you've got to care.
Put down your phone. Please. I realize this makes me sound like an old codger (which I am), but for the love of all that is holy, just put it down. I get that there is stuff happening and you have an algorithmically enhanced case of FOMO but for Christ's sake please, just for a minute, pay attention to what's going on around you. Engage with people, have a conversation, try and relate to your peers and your classmates on a personal level. The relationships you build are going to be worth so much more than the likes you acquire. I promise, the algorithm will have plenty of crap for you to look at later. It's also horrifically rude in a class. Seriously. Talk to a real person instead.
Learn to articulate yourself. This isn't about slang. Language changes, words and phrases fall in and out of favor with time, geography, pop culture, etc. Most of the time my own wife can't understand me because of my gratuitous use of mid-western colloquialisms, enhanced (or exacerbated) by my consumption of bourbon... However, I can tell you from experience, nothing is worse than not being able to articulate yourself to those around you. Read, listen, ask questions, learn to use your words, this is important.
Last and certainly not least... Do your homework.