Yesterday, I wrapped up my teaching for the semester with three tutorials in INT2/3920: Ethics of Global Conflict. I still have some marking to finish, as there are some late essays, and I'll be probably be involved in invigilating a test next week. But that's all my classes for this semester - and for the indefinite future. I've asked not to be allocated any classes in second semester, as I'll be travelling for much of it ... and who knows after that?
Casual teaching ends up being something of a time-sink. You can find yourself doing many hours of unpaid work (being paid a relatively nominal amount of associated time for each hour of face-face-face teaching). Still, I'll miss it, and I'll especially miss my students.
One of the annoying things about much popular discussion in the news media is the way entire age cohorts get stereotyped: whether it's selfish Baby Boomers, whining Gen Xers, or scatterbrained Generation Y. Then there's the silly attempts to beat up stories about some kind of generational war, despite the fact that the huge sort of gap in values between generations that existed 30 or 40 years ago is pretty much a thing of the past (indeed, even the older generations - i.e. the generations even older than boomers like me - have mellowed over time, in my experience). Contrary to stereotypes, my impression of my Gen Y students has been almost entirely positive. It's been a pleasure to deal with the 400, or 500, or more bright young adults who've crossed my path in my various lectures and tutorials in the 10 or so philosophy, bioethics, and international studies subjects that I've been involved in teaching since 2004, while based at the School of Philosophy and Bioethics, at Monash. They've been almost invariably courteous and thoughtful, and considerably more mature than I remember being when I was 18 or 20. I can't possibly remember them all as individuals, but I'll welcome contact with them when we cross paths from time to time in the future.
Sure, there have been various moments that I could have done without, but that's the case with any kind of work. Overall, it's been great, and it looks from here as if the world will be in pretty good hands when Gen Y gets some real power.