I am extremely fortunate to have a teaching situation that allows me to teach in a variety of formats. I do the "stand and deliver" of lecturing, I have smaller classes that are mostly discussion, and I have a few independent studies that are
one-on-ones. Because I live close to campus -- and because I went to a college in which classes were commonly held in the professor's home -- I sometimes conduct these IS meetings at my kitchen table. When I choose to work closely with
a motivated student (and nearly all of my students are, like me, from working-class backgrounds), I want them to be able
to see themselves living this kind of life. I want them to realize that the life of the mind happens everywhere. This is the kind of teaching I like best.
The only down-side to this home-study stuff is that my students often don't realize that for me, this is work. We're not
just hanging out drinking coffee and thinking big thoughts. I prepare hard for these meetings to make our good
conversations happen. I write up my observations after each meeting. And I don't want our conferences to extend past
the point of their academic usefulness. I'm friendly, but I am not attempting to cultivate buddies. (I have buddies my own
age.) I need to work on developing clear signals about when it is time for them to pack up and go home.