Wednesday, December 9, 2009

My Heart Cracked Open And Pride Gushed Out

I am so proud of my students.

Today was my last day teaching one of my classes, and they gave impromptu speeches on topics I selected. Because I like to be entertained, the topics ranged from "Camels Make the Best Transportation" to "Why Gravity Is My Favorite Physical Law."

They did amazingly well. They also supported one another, cheered for success, and reflected upon their semester in ways that made my heart swell. While eating donuts they'd brought to celebrate, they cracked jokes and shared stories and admitted they were going to miss the class.


One international student thanked me, and handed me a gift. When I opened it later (at his request), I found a note that threatened the safety of my mascara.

Why do they do this? Don't they know how much of a teacher's heart gets invested in these classes? It's so hard to say goodbye already... why must they be nice, too?

I've watched them transform over the course of the semester from scared freshmen to confident young men and women who have built new friendships, survived college exams and heartbreaks, and conquered some of their biggest fears. They gave speeches about their favorite household appliances... and about human trafficking. They studied together for exams, opened their lives wide to include new people, and changed their minds and majors.

It is a hard thing sometimes to be a professor. You meet amazing young people on the cusp of adulthood and mentor them. You watch with pride for a season as they try to navigate life, often succeeding in ways they hadn't imagined.

And then you bid them farewell.

I'm so proud. Goodbye.


Sara said...

I think I would love to take a class from you.

I have a tiny bit of understanding for your situation. I taught English to a group of rude, unruly and immature Korean boys for 3 months. Despite the fact that most of the time I wanted to shove their chopsticks in their ears just to see how far they'd go, I was really sad when I left and sort of miss the little snots.

christianne said...

awww! this was such a sweet post.

i taught writing to college students for three years, and my favorite part of the job was watching them grow. which means my favorite part of the job was getting to know them and what they were about so that i could see evidence of growth over time.

sounds like you opened them up in some meaningful ways. it's hard to believe there can be a whole new group that crawls into your heart next semester, huh?

Meagan said...

Sounds wonderful! I have a multiple subject teaching credential and am working as a receptionist because there are no teaching jobs in the part of California I live in. How much school did you have to endure to get where you are?

Feelmore said...

I can imagine you being one of those professors a student never forgets. I still remember my professors like that, and still stay in touch with them - I'm guessing you touched them even more than they showed.

Erin said...

I am stopping by from Surferwife's blog and am so glad I did---I'm your newest follower! It's so sweet that one of your students wrote you a note. Love that.

Looking forward to reading more of you!

Alexandra said...

Sound like your students are such a lovely bunch!
I love the themes of their speeches, they must've had so much fun!
I'm sure they'll remember you too, and when they're older and start their own blog they'll tell the world about their awesome teacher and how she made them talk about household appliances.

Savvy Gal said...

ah.... what a sweet post. a great professor can sure change a person's life......