Why I'm quitting teaching at a University Part 2

The last post revealed practical reasons. This post will be about personal reasons.

The students just presented their semester projects. They had to present their work in front of an audience and their grade was assigned on the spot. There were quite many really good works and just a few very bad ones. The ones with least quality were just due to not putting enough time into the project. I'm not a harsh grader so a lot of them got max grades (considering it'a a beginners course).

I found myself in this action to be really enjoying teaching and suggesting improvements, even just hanging out with the students.

What really frustrated me though were the cheaters. And not even the people who let someone else do their work, they don't even get caught. The ones who followed a tutorial and basically just wrote down the code that they were told. When I called it plagiarism they started arguing that it was allowed. And it basically was. At the beginning of the semester I had said following a tutorial is better than not doing anything at all. I didn't mean presenting such work as your own is okay, but I get how this could be misinterpreted.

Anything I say will probably be held against me so a lot of the time instead of teaching I'm just being careful about what I say.

It just takes the fun and nature out of whole process. Like prior to any contact with the students it takes me a week of stressing myself out about whether I've prepared properly, whether I know exactly what to say and is everything that I've said so far in terms with what I'm doing now.. I'm a startupper and I like to pivot as I see fit while doing the project. It's all to the benefit of the students (and pivoting has actually helped them a lot), but I always need to be aware of the group that will hold me against it.

And here's the real problem:

I am unable to not take this shit personally.

When students complain, I really feel like I've done something wrong. It's not that the teacher should be perfect, but when doing anything I do it will all my heart. So getting hurt (being the emotionally tender man I am) is inevitable. If it was just the students complaining I could probably handle it, but since the goal is an incredible programming course I actually end up stressing about it for the whole 6 months.

All in all it all comes down to my mental health. I would love to keep innovating. See what works and what doesn't. I love communicating and helping people understand this stuff, but stress kills and I am very am very susceptible to it. 10 years ago my moto was that stressful situations are where you learn from. That's probably why there was so much of it that I still have some pretty bad health problems. So now I just stick to doing what makes me happy in the long run and jump into temporarily scary situations that develop me - like performing.

Basically I am just unable to deal with it. I can either get though it by throwing myself at it again and again or just not deal with it and be happy. Since I don't want to quit teaching I'm thinking online courses is probably my thing.

Krister Viirsaar

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