Friday, December 5, 2014

Ah Shucks!

Reader Advisory Warning:

The following blog contains a heartwarming anecdote. Potential side effects include nausea, headache, and in extreme cases, temporarily high blood sugar levels. If you experience symptoms, discontinue reading and contact your physician immediately.

It started as most conference sessions do. Individually, students entered the classroom like visitors to a house of worship. Some faces expressed the hope of true believers seeking revelation. Others had the smirks of agnostics, conveying an attitude akin to “There's no down side to showing up.”

When my final conference of the night strolled in, my only conscious thoughts concerned the sweatpants and glass of wine patiently waiting for me at home. As he sat down, my student told me that he had really enjoyed rhetorically analyzing the two chosen texts. My eyes shot up suspiciously. Instead of obvious signs of sarcasm, I found an open and friendly grin. Then he opened his notes to show me the two-dozen similarities and differences he had found between the assigned texts. I was stunned and overjoyed (it's true that it doesn't take much these days). “I have learned to consider things in new ways and not take ideas for granted. I guess that’s critical thinking, right?”I couldn't help myself. A grin spread over my face and I had to restrain myself from saying, "Tell me more."

My heart soared. I realized I had truly made a difference in, at least, his life. I felt like Sally Fields when she won an Oscar for Places in the Heart. “You like me! You really like me!” 


At December 6, 2014 at 8:20 PM , Blogger Henry Aronson said...

Hooray! So often, students' appreciation of the material and process of learning doesn't happen in front of us. It's in retrospect they "get it". So experiencing what you describe in this post warms my heart, too. Re: the "house of worship:" I also have the same kind of students visiting me. . And not a few activist atheists of the Richard Dawkins/Christopher Hitchens variety!


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