Saturday, May 16, 2015

"Remember When?" Tuba Playing Prof Goes Back In Time.

This morning as I entered final grades, I was reminded of a meeting ten years ago with J—F---, a student who had taken four classes with me and earned the respect and admiration of my colleagues who were fortunate to have her in classes.

Looking over her application for graduation in our last advising session ever, I noted that in her first class with me, she earned a final grade of A minus. It was the lowest grade in the thirteen courses that she took in her major and one of three A minuses in the forty classes she took here.

“J---, you made a A minus is Tuba Playing One?”


“But it kept you from a 4.0 in the major!”

“I loved that class; I learned so much.”

Please share with us your story about the student like mine that you remember for the right reasons—as you await emails and phone calls from current students ready to renegotiate their final grades.


  1. I've had a few research students that I was unhappy to see graduate but I enjoyed twlling their parents about how good they were.

  2. Several times, I've had the chance to work with graduate students over a year or more (rather than in just one class) and since I emphasize both face to face and written participation, I have had the distinct pleasure of watching some grow into themselves. They have become more confident, more assertive, more thoughtful. They may not have been the "best" students but they are the ones of whom I'm most proud.

  3. Sadly, they're all blurring together right now. I suspect I'll remember a few good ones once I've had several full nights' sleep in succession.

  4. I was the student, not the prof, in a scenario like J's. It was a German lit course, with a bunch of classmates who'd been studying the language a lot longer than I had, and a gigantic reading load (all in German, of course). I was a rather slow reader in German at that point, but I improved out of sheer necessity—it was that or drown. At the end of the semester, I might not have had the most profound grasp of German Romanticism, which was the actual point of the course, but damn, I was proud of how much better I could read German. I can assure all of you teachers that that's the kind of course that sticks with you—it was almost forty years ago and I'm still proud of it.