Tuesday, November 2, 2010

This is why I teach . . .

One of my colleagues has a huge "Why?" sign on hir office wall. Well, here is one answer. I present to you, with no English-teacher snark, an email I received from a humanities student the other day:

Hello Ma'am! I was just writing to tell you about my awesome trip over break. We went to Nashville and were able to go to the Hermitage, which was Andrew Jacksons home after he served as president. We learned so much from where the slaves lived, to where Andrew slept, to seeing their graves. As we toured the home it was very awesome, and I actually knew one of the lithorgraphs and its creator on the wall, and the tour guide who knew EVERYTHING had no idea. I would not had known if it was not for humanities. I felt smart;)


  1. Some profs like to discourage such emails from students. But this? This was lovely. I remember seeing the world through these eyes. Great share, IB.

  2. This comment has been removed by the author.

  3. Aww, that's heartwarming. I've had one of those a couple years ago, a student came to office hours a good year after I'd had her in my course. She'd been to Europe and observed something that I'd taught and she was pretty stoked about having seen it in action.

    I wish that such a thing were not so noteworthy but we'll take what we can get right?

  4. I don't know, folks. The illiteracy in this message fills my heart with dread. But I suppose it's better than the usual, "How dare you try to make sure I learn anything/give me any grade other than an A, I paid my tuition."

  5. @Froderick: I'm not usually one to think that "I felt smart" translates to "I'm likely to get smarter," but somehow this anecdote gives me hope that the kid will come back for more (including, yes, a writing class or two). There really is something to be said for a student who actually values his education in ways beyond the monetary.

    @Ivory Basement: It's great when they get excited, isn't it? I just had a student come back from handling an 18th-century book in an archive for the first time. She was thrilled -- and so, of course, was I.


Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.