Monday Musings: Knowing When to Take a Break


For the last five years, I have taught X470 Psycholinguistics for Teachers of Reading K-12/L502 Socio-Psycholingusistic Applications for Reading Instruction at Indianapolis University-Purdue University Indianapolis (IUPUI).  It is a hybrid course where 20 seats (X470) are allotted for undergraduate students and five seats (L502) are allotted for graduate students.  For the last three years I have taught this course, it has also been hybrid in another sense – some class sessions are face-to-face and some class sessions are online.  I absolutely love teaching this course, so why am I walking away at the end of this semester?

Let me go back to how I ended up teaching a college course in the evening in the first place.

When the 2012-2013 school year began I had earned my master’s at IUPUI in Language Education that August and added English as a New Language to my teaching license.  Mid-way through the school year, my students were struggling with reading comprehension and I remembered some activities we did in X470; it was a class I took for my master’s.  I reached out to the professor of the course, who was also my academic advisor, for the resource she shared when I took the course because I couldn’t find my copy anywhere.  When she sent the resource, she asked what I thought about teaching the EDUC X470/L502 course in the future.  I laughed when I saw that question included in the return email with the resource.  I thought, “I cannot teach a college course.  You realize I am reaching out to you because I’m trying to find a better way to help my middle school students with reading comprehension.”  I nicely told her I didn’t know if I could do it.  She told me I would just need to interview with the associate dean and if the interview went well, she would help me prepare to teach the course.

I reluctantly agreed to the interview.  I thought, “The dean will spot my incompetence and say thanks, but no thanks and that will be that.”  Well, my plan was foiled.  I was recommended to teach the course.  I prepared for the course and decided I would only teach one semester.  I thought, “The students will think I suck as a professor and IUPUI will have no choice, but to kick me to the curve.”  That didn’t happen.  My first semester was not my best semester, in my opinion, but the students loved how I incorporated how I was using the strategies and applying the theory in my classroom.  A few students even wanted to become my student teacher.  One semester turned into a five-year commitment, so again, you are probably wondering why I am walking away from this course.

I am walking away because it is time for a break and time for a change.  Although I love teaching this course and I have been able to keep up with some of the students I have taught, I’m ready to teach a new course, but not at the moment.  This is a break for now until I’m ready to return and teach a different course.  I like a challenge and I like to learn.  One way to learn is by teaching.  I want to expand my education knowledge by adding another course under my belt.  My former academic advisor, who I consider my mentor now, would love for me to continue teaching the course, but she supports my decision.

Tomorrow will be hard.  It the second to last class of the course, but it is the last face-to-face class with students.  I woke up around 2 a.m. this morning and was thinking about it.  Even though I’m sad to go, I know it is time for a break.  Some of the students I have taught now teach in the district where I work and maybe one day one of my former students will teach my children.  I will miss teaching at IUPUI, but it’s not goodbye forever; it’s just so long for now.





  1. Thanks George. I think it is always important to evaluate what you are doing and be open to closing chapters and walking into new ones.

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