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In the fall of 2023, a new chapter began in my professional journey as I stepped into the role of an Adjunct Professor at Houston Christian University, a place that holds a special place in my heart as my Alma Mater. It was a moment of full circle, returning to the corridors that once shaped my own academic and personal growth.
My first undergraduate class comprised 32 eager minds, many of whom were athletes, bringing a diverse set of experiences and perspectives into the classroom. This diversity enriched our discussions and learning, creating a vibrant and dynamic environment. As I began teaching, I found that my background in counseling was an invaluable asset. It allowed me to connect with my students on a deeper level, understanding their individual journeys and the unique challenges they faced.
One of the core lessons I aimed to impart was the importance of knowing someone’s story before attempting to help them. This principle, rooted in empathy and understanding, resonated deeply with my students. We explored various narratives, discussing how background, experiences, and personal struggles shape a person’s life and choices. This approach not only enhanced their learning but also fostered a sense of community and mutual respect within the class.
Throughout the semester, I also integrated my faith into the curriculum. This added a rich layer to our discussions, allowing us to explore the intersection of personal belief, professional practice, and ethical decision-making. The students, many of whom shared a similar faith background, engaged with this aspect enthusiastically, bringing insightful perspectives and personal anecdotes to our conversations.
As the semester progressed, I witnessed remarkable growth in my students. They became more thoughtful, empathetic, and skilled in understanding the complexities of human behavior and relationships. Their ability to apply these insights in practical scenarios was particularly gratifying, reflecting the real-world impact of our classroom discussions.
In teaching this course, I not only shared my knowledge and experience but also learned immensely from my students. Their questions challenged me, their insights inspired me, and their growth as individuals was a testament to the transformative power of education. The experience was a profound reminder of the responsibility and privilege of teaching, especially in an environment that values both academic excellence and personal growth.
As the semester came to a close, I felt a deep sense of accomplishment and gratitude. I had successfully navigated the challenges of teaching my first undergraduate class, but more importantly, I had made a meaningful contribution to the lives of 32 young individuals. This experience, rich in learning and personal fulfillment, reaffirmed my passion for teaching and my commitment to guiding the next generation of learners.