Thursday, November 4, 2010

It Is I, Yaro, With a Brief Burst of Love.

I am intrigued by the recent dialogues on these pages about our attachments to students. I don't know that I can say I have ever hated a student, for those students with the capacity to annoy or vex me tend to not cross my mind very much once they have made themselves known. (There was a rapacious lad years ago who insulted a classmate during the first day of class. I held up my hand and asked him to leave the room immediately. When he sheepishly asked when he could return, I replied, "Not ever, young man. I will never see you again. Now, skedaddle.")

Of course that solution might not work in the current climate, but that's not my point this morning.

I love them all.

I love all the students. I trust that they come to me with open hearts and minds, and I believe that my own openness will be apparent to them in our transactions. Of course I am not talking about being friends with them. I am a grown man with a collection of chums nearer my age. That sort of befriending of youngsters under our care is wholly inappropriate, as the assignation of power in the relationship is so wildly out of balance. (Any "friendship" in that case is based on a - I'm sorry - a lie.)

Instead I walk into new classrooms believing that we attend the event with a desire to learn and exchange. I admire them, their ability to balance a modern life with the goal of higher education. I want them to succeed, to soar to any level that they choose. And I perform the necessary machinations of my own learned trade to offer them pathways to those achievements.

When I stop loving them, truly respecting them, their goals, their sometimes even hidden and unknown desire to crest understanding and creative thought, then I will know that it is time for me, Yaro, to ply another trade, or perhaps just skedaddle myself, Mrs. Yaro along, of course, as she is never far from my side, my mind, or my heart.

I bid all of my friends at CM a happy day, and thank you for allowing me this brief note concerning recent issues.



  1. I wouldn't normally say that I "love" my students, but perhaps, by Yaro's definition, I do. I certainly respect them (and, apparently, it shows; I get consistently high ratings on the "shows respect for students" question on our student evaluation form -- one of the few questions I actually care about). And I, too, "admire. . .their ability to balance a modern life with the goal of higher education," and "want them to succeed, to soar to any level that they choose," and am happy to help them develop the tools specific to my discipline that may help them do that, and to point them toward others in other specialties who can do the same. I think I'm a little bit more skeptical than Yaro of the ones whose aspirations for soaring don't seem to match their gifts, or who aren't yet displaying clear signs of untapped potential, at least in the academic realm -- or perhaps I'm just skeptical of my own ability to find and bring out such potential.

    But yes, by this definition -- which strikes me as akin to the interpretation many Christians (and, I'm sure, Jews and adherents of other faiths and no faith) give to "love your neighbor," seeing "love" as an action, not an emotion -- I'm willing to say I love my students.

  2. This is off topic, but I HAVE to know more about Yaro. Where do you teach? Where are you from? What language do you use? What color is the sky in your world?

    But as to the topic at hand, I think his view about students is comendable, though not always necessarily possible.

    I am vexed and annoyed CONSTANTLY. Or maybe that's a reflection more on my tolerance than on the supposed vex-ers.

    But I love the sentiment in this, and I set myself a little goal each day to be a bit more like Yaro...


    And Mrs. Yaro. She must be a peach.

  3. Yaro's post came at the right time for me.

    I do need to find some of that love for my own career again. Maybe it's a bit of a put-on, but that sort of love for the students and the job just seems so 20th century somehow. Now in our economic, moral, and psychological downturn, just surviving and protecting oneself seems like the point of everything.

    But that's so selfish.

    I remember loving all my students, all my classes, and being a little in awe that they could balance school and life so successfully when I as an undergrad could barely.

    Thanks, Y!

    PS: Where's Myra Adele Logan? I miss her.

  4. Oh God, I want to love them...seriously.

    But they keep pissing me off!!!!

  5. I can respect them
    without loving them.

    But I believe doing both
    makes me slightly more human,

    slightly more ready to help.

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  7. Yaro, I wish I had your peace of mind. I do want to love them all, at the beginning of the semester, like you do. I find, however, that I take an instant aversion to some. It saves time in the long run. ;-)/2

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  9. I respect those who earn my respect, and I like those whom I come to regard favorably.

    I also hate those who deserve it, though it hurts me more than them.

    I "love" a few of my best students, yes, but generally? Of COURSE NOT.

    You give students WAY too much benefit of the doubt, or maybe you just go to a school in a different demographic. Not sure which, but my experience isn't yours.

  10. You, Yaro, are so charming. I mostly love mine too, in this way. A few I admire, a few I feel churlish toward, but generally speaking I see them as in formation, which is an exciting place to be.


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