Sort of, anyway. At least, taking it off the campus. I’m talking about my Social Work 332 class—Elderly and Differently-Abled. Up until four years ago, I taught this class in Miller Hall every Wednesday from 11:00 a.m. until 1:00 p.m. It has always been one of my favorite classes. As a social worker before taking up teaching, I spent many hours, days, weeks, months, and years working for hospitals, long-term cares, home health agencies, and hospice organizations. The even let me be the boss in most of those places. So, teaching about elderly and differently-abled was pretty comfortable for me. I sat in Miller 202 and told the students what I had learned over the years. They dutifully took notes. Every once in a while, though, I would think, “Wouldn’t it be great if in this room right now were sitting elderly and differently-abled people?”
That voice, though, had a point. Students need to experience. They need to hear, see, and feel. They need to learn more than I can possibly ever teach them on my own. If the elderly and differently-abled could not be in the classroom, then the students would go where they were. (And, no, I would not be satisfied with some computerized image on a screen at the front of the room.) I wanted the real flesh, the real blood.
So now SW 332 is taught every Wednesday during the fall semester at Crest View Care Center. In the class with the students sit elderly residents. And differently-abled residents. They talk to the students, and the students talk to them.
Me? Oh, I say a word here and there, but mostly I just watch the students learn without me. It’s the best teaching I have ever done.