Sometimes the Rewards Are Subtle

I've been fortunate in the last couple of weeks to have had some of my former students drop in. Today one of my best students ever, my honor's student mentioned back here, came by to catch up with me and one other member of his committee. And since that other member wasn't in on Monday, that meant I got all that quality time to myself.

After we chatted for an hour or so in my office about what he wants to do - travel overseas and maybe work there, maybe grad school - we decided to take off and grab a beer. And while we grabbed that beer, we caught up on music and books and all the things you hope your best students are thinking about. It was funny to see the mix of grownup and kid in him in that light - he's talking about great books and deep thoughts he's been having one moment and then lamenting the young crowd at the death metal show he came down for the next.

What was great though was when he said the following, "You know, I didn't like you at the start of the first class I had you for."

I could only laugh because I know that a lot of the students at that point didn't particularly like me. But what I love is that now I'm one of the people he comes back to see, one of the people he seeks out for advice, one of the people he asks for book recommendations and theoretical insights from, and one of the people he'd sit down for a beer with. He asked whether I'd recommend he go to the grad program I went to.

No matter what else I say, sometimes this really is a great job.


One response to “Sometimes the Rewards Are Subtle”
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Lesley said...

Aww, that's so great. I completely relate; in fact, I had a somewhat similar occurrence today (minus the beer). There's nothing better...


September 22, 2008 at 11:26 PM