Friday, May 9, 2014

A still and quiet moment

The longer you teach, the more students touch your life. They make an imprint, graduate, and move into the next chapter of their own lives. Each beginning is fresh and new to the graduate, a time of pride for the family, and a moment of reflection for the faculty who are privileged to teach.

It's so easy to get lost in the number of papers or projects to grade, the grades to be submitted, the flurry of deadlines to meet, or the dance of grade disappointment.  What matters to me in this particular moment, however, is a different tally, the one that represents the reason we do what we do.

This semester's teaching tally is two undergraduate classes (34 students), two graduate classes (36 students), and two Honors theses.  And from that teaching, twenty-one graduate students receiving degrees tomorrow (a third of whom have traveled from Panama) and another 10 or so undergraduate students who've allowed me to guide them through running a retail business or writing a thesis or both.

While the students may not know how much they have challenged me to think, stretch, laugh, and risk, I am a better teacher for their brief sojourn here. So in this still and quiet moment before the Honors ceremony, the Graduate School graduation party, and the pomp and ceremony of commencement, I am thankful for the silent brush of butterfly wings on heartstrings.