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February 1, 2011

I just got home from my “long day” a few minutes ago.  I just had to drop in and tell you how much I love my night class.  I love them.  LOVE.  I was so nervous about how my energy level would be teaching until 10:00 at night.  Usually I am dozing on the couch by that time.  No need to worry, these students give me energy.  I am teaching the same course that I taught last semester to my night class, so I can usually prep during the afternoon and it is not so much re-creating, more locating the material.  Ahem. I was hoping to tweak and improve my course, but I don’t have any extra time because of my other class, so I am just using the same materials.  The only trick is to figure out how to do it in a four-hour block instead of every day for 50 minutes.

Anyway, I want to share these people with you.  They are like presents under the tree on Christmas eve.  There is one woman from Kenya, she is about my age, maybe older.  She is very quiet during class, but will engage in small group discussions.  Every week she comes up to me and puts her hand on my arm and says, “Thank you so much…”  I usually bid her goodbye and wish her a good week, and then as she goes out the door she turns around and says, “Keep being good…”  Every week. Well, today she came up to thank me and then said, “I just need to tell you that when my family says prayers during the week we include your name in them.”  This just filled my heart.  Lord knows I need all the prayers I can get, but I never would have expected them from one of my students.  A sweet gift.

Another one of my students asked me if I had a cold.  Ummm, YES.  He then asked me if I was coughing up a lot of mucus.  I told him that was a very personal question.  He said, “I just wanted to share with you my grandmother’s remedy.”  I told him that I would LOVE to have his grandmother’s remedy!  And because I love all of you bloggy friends, I will share it with you as well.  Have you heard of this?  Slice an onion and put it in a jar.  Fill the jar with honey.  Let it sit for a couple of hours.  Take a Tablespoon every four hours.  No more cold after two days.  I am so trying this!  He will be in my prayers tonight because his wife is having some heart problems.  They have young children at home.  I am so hoping she is okay.

There is another student who is French.  He was so quiet at first and I didn’t know how to read him.  Tonight he was asking questions and making jokes, and really showing his personality.  He is so sweet and funny, who knew?  He sits next to another student who came up to me during the break to show me pictures of her 19-month-old little girl.  So cute!  And it always touches my heart when students want to share their lives with me.

There are so many others as well.  But the best part is that the whole group is so engaged in learning.  They want to be there and they are working so hard.  They ask really good questions and don’t stop until they understand.  They take twice as long with activities because they extend their own learning.  They really amaze me.

I had a student who was a bit disrespectful in an email yesterday.  I was so worried about it all night.  Yesterday I gave my first test in my everyday class and the first test is always somewhat stressful for everyone.  This student didn’t show up to the test and emailed me after class asking when she could make up the test because she “was at court.”  I was torn, but decided to stand firm on my policy which states that students are only allowed to make up tests with PRIOR approval.  I emailed her back saying I was sorry, but make up tests were only given with prior approval, but not to worry because it is still the beginning of the semester and I was sure that she would make good decisions and make up the points later.  She emailed me back: “Mhmm I’m sure there’s a way around it considering it delt with the courts.”  (Misspelling hers.)  I never replied.  I gave her my answer already.  But I was in that negative place, and that is never good.

What a wonderful turn of events tonight was.  These are the moments I need to hold close to my heart.  Not only that, but when I went to copy that email above I had this email waiting:  “Dear Meg, I really enjoy being in your 0960 class. I had a quick question for you. Did you want us to do using content clues on pages 61-64. I was just sitting at the dinning room table just quietly doing homework. I really enjoy your teaching stragies. Sincerely, (a great student)” (Again, misspelling and punctuation errors hers.)

I am swooning right now.  I think I come here to figure out all of the things that are tangled inside my head a lot of the time, and I never share with you the good things.  The reasons why I became a teacher, and continue to want to be one.  Lucky am I that I have the opportunity.

  1. February 2, 2011 7:30 am

    oh thank heavens you are getting all this fabulous feedback– teaching is pouring out your soul and it is so easy to get burn-out but wow– they SEE you and APPRECIATE you and you are bringing your gifts to them– so so beautiful– and good for you for standing firm with the one bad apple– hold your line– either she will step up her game or she won’t– but that’s her life decision– yours is to define the boundaries and expectations . .. you are AWESOME!!! Aren’t you just so proud of all you are doing?? xoxo, E

    • February 13, 2011 12:59 am

      Thank you for your vote of confidence, and for labeling my job so well: boundaries and expectations. This helps me know that I really do need to meet with her face to face and have a talk. Not that I particularly WANT to, but I need to. Love to you!

  2. February 2, 2011 3:45 pm

    Positivity! Hurrah for such lovely and affirmative feedback, friendliness and just plain GOOD STUFF.

    • February 13, 2011 1:00 am

      Yes! I will keep this post close so I can read it when things are not in the “good stuff” range!

  3. February 4, 2011 9:51 pm

    Hooray for you sharing the good moments – that student telling you that she and her family is praying for you? How precious is THAT?? I am so glad that you are enjoying your night class. As for the disrespectful one – I’m sure she is totally stressed about the court situation. Also, I think it’s so much easier to be rude in an email, don’t you? There’s no tone or inflection.

    Love your Professor Meg sign!

    • February 13, 2011 1:02 am

      I love my sign too. Who says this is different than first grade? They would give me notes and signs all the time :) I definitely think my disrespectful student is a whole lot braver behind the screen than in person. I plan on talking to her this week, so I guess I will find out!

  4. February 6, 2011 1:53 pm

    It’s so wonderful and inspiring to read about your students. It sounds like you have such a personal connection to teaching, to them. I love hearing about it, thank you!

    • February 13, 2011 1:04 am

      The personal connection is the reason I love to teach. I can’t imagine teaching a strictly online course. It wouldn’t have any interaction at all. No energy. No JOKES? Yes. I think I will stick to classroom teaching!

  5. February 10, 2011 7:55 am

    “Professior Meg!” I love it, especially the “carina”… which I would wholly agree with. Did you try the onion-honey remedy? I wanted to gag just reading about it, but most people don’t consider onions the abomination that I do. :)

    • February 13, 2011 1:05 am

      I have NOT tried the onion/honey thing yet. My cold was already too old to try it. I am determined to try it with the next one though! I will let you know!

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