Thursday, December 19, 2013

Things that save me

I'm soooo tired of grading. But I tell myself it's okay.
My house is a disaster by the end of finals. Always happens. I do a pile of dishes while the coffee brews, and that keeps the bigger pile from taking over the kitchen.

However, at the moment, which is a couple minutes after 5 a.m.,  I have a mug of good coffee, a fuzzy dog by my feet, a cat relishing the warm bed I just left, and a pile of papers to read. Life could be worse, right?

Actually, in spite of how down and how exhausted I've been at the end of the semester, yesterday sort of saved me. One of my students who did okay in comp but did struggle with it told me that I pushed him, and he liked that. He said he learned "so much." He actually thanked me while he did a rewrite of his research paper.

Two other guys from the same class came to my office to tell me spectacular news in their personal engaged to a girl he thought he'd lost (and a few weeks earlier, I urged him to tell his mom about it rather than protecting her from the hurt of it, which turned out to be superb advice; sometimes age has its merits), the other the father of a brand-new bouncing baby boy. 

Quite a few students thanked me after our last Comp class. Seriously? They actually said they had "a blast." Seriously? I am not as surprised when that happens in Humanities because the content is so enjoyable. But Comp? Well, that sort of saved my semester.

Somebody I flunked in that class even thanked me after we had a long talk about how I couldn't let her go on to other college classes without better college writing skills. I mean, now that thank-you is worth something.

And of my students in creative writing has seriously UNDERSTOOD revision. Her new drafts are a testament to rewriting, and smooth prose, and that is enough to make me very, very happy.

In Lit class, I got a note at the end of a student's essay question answers: "...this is probably the last paper I'll write for you. You've been here since I first started college and you have taught me so much. You're an amazing teacher, one of the best I've had. You've encouraged me to want to learn and to push myself to be the best I can be. So thank you. Thank you for opening my mind up to want to learn more."  If you're reading this, I hope you don't mind that I used it.  This made me start to cry. I wept and decided, okay, yes. Teaching is really worth all this work. Thanks, Molly, for truly saving the end of my semester. 

Now back at it. It's my life, after all. Do it, drink good coffee, play with Freya, keep at it, and be happy that I have a job that gives me such moments, right?

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