Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Starting School and Intergenerational Life

Every year I seem to write something about fall being the start of the church year and the start of the school year. For me, this year it's true again in a more concrete way.


Today I start teaching again. I'm teaching adjunct at Jackson Community College, and I'm teaching two sections of English 131, which is freshman composition. I taught freshman composition before at Mount Wachusett Community College in Gardner, MA, but it's been four years since I've been in a formal classroom.


I'm looking forward to meeting my students later today. At a community college, you often get a very nice mix of traditional and nontraditional students which enriches, I think, the classroom setting. I remember my own college experience at the University of Michigan, and one thing that could be said is it isolated me from the rest of the community. I remember walking across campus one day and seeing a child and thinking it had been months since I'd seen a small child! There's a way in which, if all you are around is 18-22 year olds, plus professors and staff, that you start to forget that the whole world is not centered around 18-22 year olds.


Of course, one of the wonderful things about church life is it's a place where the generations mix. There's a growing trend of churches marketing themselves particularly to the young adult age group, a group that's sometimes missing from more traditional churches, but sometimes these churches have almost only young adults, and are not truly integenerational, either. In the UU movement, there's an on-line church specifically for young adults, The Church of the Younger Fellowship. I joined it briefly as a visitor, but I was the oldest age that they accept members in.

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