Over the Thanksgiving holiday break I graded 69 7-11 page research papers and their accompanying portfolios. Yikes! I assign my 1010 students their research topic - otherwise so much time is lost in them coming up with a topic. Their topic is to write about their name/s.
As these students took me on their discovery of their names - from how their name was chosen to the meaning behind their surname, to the other names they are known by, I thought how grateful I am for the opportunity to teach. And the students love this topic - they are on an adventure as they do their library research, as well as talk to their parents, their grandparents, friends.
I try to make a difference - I want my students to leave my classes energized rather than drained, enlightened rather than numb, and I want them to leave knowing that I am choosing to teach - because I love teaching, but I also love my students.
I teach because I am energized by their youth, by their innocence, by their grandiose plans and dreams. I teach because I get to see eagerness turn into studiosness, see ahaa moments rather than sleeping (I do occasionally have a student fall asleep; I typically let them sleep). I get to see them grow through the semester, gain confidence - not only in the classes I teach, but as a university student.
I teach because my students keep me on my toes. I have to learn their lingo (I got a laugh yesterday with my "swipe left, swipe right" reference to binary thinking), I watch how they dress, watch what they talk about, watch how they interact with each other - and they think I'm only in the classroom to teach!
I teach because I want my students to know I care - I care enough to grade their papers over Thanksgiving, so they don't have to stress writing them over Thanksgiving. I care enough to cautiously put $20 bucks into a student's hand when he made a casual comment about not having gas, not having food. I care enough to pray for them at night. I care enough to worry about them after class, to notice the other student who was bright and sparkly when the semester began but who now struggles to come to class on time.
I would like to think that I'm doing my part to make the world a better place - to make a difference -