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Reflections on my first semester as a college professor

December 19, 2013

It's over. The fall semester at Southeastern University wrapped up last week with final exams, juries, and Fall Commencement. Campus has cleared, grades are posted, and Christmas break is finally upon us.

A few musings and highlights of my first semester teaching at a university:

1) Have you ever been in one of those situations where nearly everything you do, you're doing it for the first time? Well, a good portion of the past four months has been this way for me. Every day, it seems, there's at least one thing that my job requires me to do that I am uncomfortable doing, because I've never done it before. But I am quite aware that this is how one grows and expands knowledge. Thus, I am thankful for the opportunities that I have had so far, and I know that this will continue for awhile. For example, I am teaching two classes in the spring semester that I did not teach this fall.

2) Florida is hot.
 

Taken Dec. 18 at SEU. What you can't hear in this photo is Dean Martin singing "Let It Snow!"


3) It has been a true joy to share music of the marimba with many who have never heard it (yes, including several of my students). I have been blessed to play solo marimba several times in the area, and it's awesome to see people's eyes widen as they realize that a percussion instrument can actually be musical, too (can you believe it?!).

4) I have become painfully aware of how little I know about music. When you live in a certain world, surrounded by the same types of people and musical experiences for awhile, you can become pretty knowledgeable in those areas. Then you move to a different world, surrounded by different people and musical experiences, and you realize, Wow, I have a ton to learn still.

5) I don't know this for sure, as my experience is very limited, but I have to think that in some ways, teaching at a smaller school (like SEU) is more challenging than teaching at a larger, more established school. (I'm also pretty sure that teaching at a larger school is more difficult in other ways.) I say this because at a small school, one must be able to teach at a high level in several areas (written and aural theory, music history, drum set, concert percussion, marching percussion, composition). This is probably the reason I feel as #4 states.

6) Many students think that the title "Doctor" simply means "Professor" and therefore call all of their teachers "Dr. ______." I usually correct them, explaining that I do not have a doctorate, so they can just call me Mr. Blume. Truthfully, I'd rather be called Master Blume than Dr. Blume. Has a nice ring to it. Very Star Wars-ish.

7) Most or all of my friends and family in the Midwest assume that my wife and I spend our weekends at the beach and at Disney World, when in reality, we've done neither since coming here. It turns out that having real jobs (she teaches 2nd grade) is very time consuming and exhausting. Disney World? Ain't nobody got time fo' dat! (Or money…)

8) Lastly, changes and adjustment take time and lots of patience. I am very thankful for where I am, but it doesn't make it easy. It's part of a unique journey for Sarah and me, and while there are often feelings of being overwhelmed and anxious, occasional tears shed, and many new and uncomfortable situations, there are also some moments to celebrate (like reading the mostly positive course evaluations from my classes), and we know God has us where he wants us. So we press on, thankful for his unending goodness and grace.

9) Florida is hot.

Merry Christmas to you all!!

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© 2019 by Brian Blume