November 25th, 2008

A Teaching Professor’s Reasons to Give Thanks


gratitude list

Things to be thankful for this year:

  • For semesters, terms and courses that end and then begin again.
  • 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 hide their joy.
  • For PowerPoint that makes content look way more impressive than overheads ever did and projectors with bulbs less likely to burn out.
  • For librarians who navigate databases 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 new colleagues who bring fresh perspectives and enthusiasm.
  • For old colleagues who are still in love with their content and on fire in their classrooms.
  • For department heads who truly care about teaching.
  • For minds still nimble and restless enough to raise new questions and pursue different answers.
  • For classroom 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.