What Makes Me Tick and Teach?
No Pain, No Gain

To address what makes a 78-year-old tick and teach is something that I will address. First, let me give the backstory. There I was before the beginning of the spring semester. For various reasons, I decided to change the textbook several weeks before beginning the class. I told the bookstore about the new textbook and then called the publisher to acquire a desk copy. However, there was some problem, which meant a delay of a couple of weeks getting the book. However, the publisher emailed me a PDF of the book.

Since I have used PowerPoints while teaching for a couple of decades, changing textbooks meant that my 16-weeks of PowerPoints needed to be redone. The process of reading the new book and making new PowerPoints was far more than a Herculean effort. It was extremely time-consuming. Any hope of preparing a new PowerPoint for the new semester before the class began was dashed before the class started.

I began the course with two weeks of PowerPoints ready. So, for the first half of the semester, I was teaching with one PowerPoint while creating one for a couple of weeks ahead. I was behind the eight-ball.

I was also writing essays for my webpage, taking care of Ginger, and spending time emailing my family in Myanmar. It wasn't long before the class had started. At the beginning of their first week, they had an additional assignment other than the first chapter of the textbook. They had to read an interview that my daughter did of me a decade ago. I have used that interview as a means for my class to understand my drive to teach. Over the years, students have enjoyed the interview, but it was really dated.

In the midst of all this, I got an email from the school at which I was teaching stating that I was one of the nominees for the best adjunct professors this year. If I wanted to be considered, I needed to do a three-minute video about how I have impacted my students. The email was clear about the video that couldn't be longer than the three-minutes.

My initial two responses were that I'm juggling too much right now to address the request, and I had received that honor at two other universities where I have taught in the past. At one school, I received a plaque.

At the other school, the dean called me into her office to tell me that I was now a visiting professor due to my teaching abilities.

For a couple of weeks, I didn't think about it. I had too much on my plate. I don't recall what prompted me to reread the email. Nevertheless, I decided to put together a three-minute video. However, I would do the video and include a PowerPoint presentation, What Makes Me Tick and Teach. It would take far longer than three-minutes to simply read each slide. Additionally, there were a dozen links to essays that I had written for my webpage.

There was one other problem. My three-minute video would be attached to the PowerPoint. I sent it to my web administrator in Myanmar and told him that I needed it ASAP. Unfortunately, the military in Myanmar had a coup d'état and shut down the Internet. I never heard from him. So, I threw together a short video and submitted it with the PowerPoint.

However, I didn't do PowerPoint and video for the committee, which would decide the winning candidate. I did it as a teaching aid for the class that I was presently teaching and all the other future classes. It would replace the dated interview. I was moved to spend a great deal of time working on this project because it was an up-to-date expression of my interest in teaching. It forced me to put down what I learned about myself in the past decade since my daughter's interview with me. Hopefully, my students will become more motivated as they walk down their yellow-brick roads of academia.