November 25th, 2008

A Teaching Professor’s list for thanks giving


  • For semesters, terms and courses that end and then begin again—if only they would end sooner and begin later.
  • For students (sometimes not very many) who come to class prepared and ready to learn.
  • For students (sometimes too many) who don’t come prepared and don’t care about learning. From them we learn humility and how far we can stretch to reach.
  • For students who figure it out and forget to hid their joy.
  • For PowerPoint that makes content look way more impressive than overheads ever did and projects with bulbs less likely to burn out.
  • For librarians who navigate data bases and run search engines, skilled and delighted to show students and faculty how they too can manage information.
  • For email that brings notes from now successful former students. And extra gratitude for those willing to admit what we told them was right.
  • For grading software that corrects errors, assigns meaningful comments, and tallies the points. For that day when it’s available and let it be soon.
  • For new colleagues who can’t believe they’re getting paid to do what they’d almost do without pay but are happily doing for almost no pay.
  • For old colleagues still in love with their content and on fire in their classrooms.
  • For department heads who care about teaching with something other than lips.
  • For questions with answers that raise questions in a knowledge circle that expands but never breaks or ends.
  • For minds still nimble and restless enough to pursue those answers that raise questions.
  • For classrooms with furniture that moves, for clean floors, empty trash cans, chalk in the tray, a computer that stands ready, for places and spaces that convey the sanctity of learning.
  • For feedback that helps students to grow and faculty to flourish.
  • For a job, less like work, more like a vocation with meaning and purpose, that on good days makes a difference and on bad ones still holds promise.

—Maryellen Weimer

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