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I've taught at a number of different types of schools, and I think student interest can make a huge difference in happiness/enjoyment of the job. Especially if one is teaching higher than a 2-2 load. From what I have seen (don't hate) how hard it is to get into the school correlates pretty well with student interest. The harder it is to get in, the more interest the students have in their classes. (I know lots of people will disagree with this, but from everything I have seen I believe it, exceptions notwithstanding.) H

How it is to get into your institution doesn't correlate much with whether you are at a teaching or research school. Now I do think a good teacher MAKES students interested. There is no real reason why some students (given their perfectly reasonable life goals) would come into your class interested. However doing this is a lot of hard work and can be very draining, wear on you, often make you feel like you are not a good teacher even if you are, etc.

Sam Duncan

Amanda, I don't agree on the difficulty getting in = student interest claim. I taught at schools with somewhat competitive admissions before my current community college job and I don't think I'd say that those students were as a whole more interested. Probably the least interested and just generally worst students I ever had were at a school that was the second hardest to get into of all the schools I've taught at (they had like a 61% acceptance rate). The students were smart enough and fairly well prepared for college but as a group militantly uninterested, lazy, and entitled. (I won't name the school but I'm betting a lot of people from Virginia can figure out where I'm talking about.) And if I see any difference in the interest level of the students here and the ones at University of Tennessee (76% acceptance rate) where I taught before, which honestly for the most part I don't, it's probably in favor of the TCC students. I guess I do remember that most of my students at UVA seemed interested in class, but in a lot of cases I might chalk that up to being very good at playing the academic game. I guess in one sense the UVA students did have hands down the most interest in classes of any students I've taught, but I have some doubts about how much of this was an interest in learning for its own sake and how much was just doing what they felt they needed to do to get an A. For what it's worth with that interest at UVA came some pretty intense grade grubbing and grade grubbing is hands down my least favorite part of teaching.


Fair enough Sam, I knew someone would present a different point of view. We have had different experiences. As far as whether someone who is showing interest is "really" interested or just acting like it from some other motive, well, to me that doesn't make much difference. If they are at least showing interest (whether genuine or not) teaching is much more enjoyable to me.


Also, as far a grade grubbing goes, I have learned I much prefer students who care about their grade which sometimes means complaining. I have taught students who are perfectly okay with getting a C which means it is very hard to motivate them to do better. Not impossible, but difficult. I can deal with grade complaints easier than I can deal with lack of motivation.

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