Good morning friends,
Teaching is the most rewarding job I’ve ever had, and sometimes the most frustrating. You can’t always tell if you’re making a difference, if you’re getting through to students, if they are internalizing concepts deeply enough to remember and apply them in their daily lives. I know that exams and grades are the primary concern for many, but I hope some of what we teach ends up enriching their everyday experience.
We plant seeds, but we don’t always get to see the harvest.
Every once in a while, though, I get a gift from a student that makes my day, puts a spring in my step, warms my heart by making it all worthwhile. Those are gifts like “I remember what you taught me,” “I see that idea all around me,” “I got so much out of your class,” “Your teaching style really helped me learn.”
I got one of these little gifts today when I ran into a former student in the lunch line at the cafe in my building. She still remembers Equity Theory, still thinks about it, still sees it all around her as she watches others interact. This particular idea took root in her mind, and became a tool that helps her understand the world around her a little bit better.
And that made my day.
I care about getting it right (or as close to right as I can). I care if my students learn. Grades are a measure of learning, but they’re not the whole story – one student might earn an “A” with very little effort, while another might struggle to achieve a “C,” yet find much more meaning in the course material.
For me, the payoff, the harvest, is in the learning. After a great class discussion, I’m walking a foot off the ground. When a student has an “aha” moment, I’ll grin from ear to ear for the rest of the day. And I love it when they tell me, “that concept we talked about in class last week – I noticed people doing that today.”
That’s just the best thing ever.
Winnie and the Professor