I’ve been encountering past students quite a bit in the last couple of weeks: some in person, others in conversations with TAs, professors, and students with whom I previously worked. I’m somewhat startled to notice that, despite having had, by now, more than 160 students in the past three-and-a-half years of TAing, I seem to remember most of my students with some degree of clarity.
The first class I TAed, in my third year of undergrad, was a “2P90” course: a second year course that can also contribute to 3rd year course requirements. Having no prerequisites, this was the type of course that students could — and did — take in their upper years. My first class, then, had a few second and fourth year students. Most, however, were in their third year: the same age and year as I was.
Not entirely unsurprising then, to run into one of my former students at Mac, also completing his MA. Not unsurprising, but a bit startling nonetheless. Also startling (to me) was that I could remember his name, where he used to sit in the seminar room, and the reading on which he did his presentation. Thinking about this encounter last night, I realised I can pretty much recall these details about the students in each of my seminars (I can’t remember all the papers: no one’s that good).
I expect I’ll lose this ability as the years go on, and I have ever more students in increasingly large class sizes, but for now, it’s comforting to know that I’m not entirely sleepwalking through my teaching.
And I have a pretty spiffing memory. No senility for me. None at all.
19 December 2009 ~ Hamilton