So it's the end of the term, I'm in the last long day of office hours for the next several months. It feels like someone is slowly, ever so gently driving a spike into my skull just above my left ear. But rather than succumb to the headache and the boredom of the last day, to the tendency to bust down the term with stark reflection, I'm going with the road less traveled: today's about what I've liked.
It's easy, actually, because I do enjoy this part of the term quite a bit - and not just because it's almost over. Maybe it's the grouping of students I get - students just starting and students finishing - but there is always a sense of change and excitement at this point of the year. I hope one thing that happens in this blog is that when I complain, it mostly isn't about the students. I like them. I like them here. I liked them at my last job. I liked them when I was teaching them in grad school. Yes, sometimes they're inconsiderate. Sometimes they're disinterested. Sometimes their work is so bad you feel like you're teaching writing at the University of Iowa (see this) . But I like them.
Last night, I got to help our seniors celebrate their passing a bit (as a side note, check out this band somehow when you get a chance), and it was a nice moment. It was good to see that they'd picked up some things. And it was good to see them before they'd accepted all the little rules and obsessions "grown up, working world" life is going to insist on.
Tomorrow, I get to congratulate our best and brightest and thank them and wish them well. I get to do it in a big public moment, and I'm excited for that. A lot of them are students I had my first year here. They're students I've been writing confidential reference letters for, busting out my best praise in prose for. I like that I get a chance to tell them in public what I've said about them to their future employers and teachers, to my colleagues and friends, for ages now: that I expect big things of them and that I wish them well.
I was teasing a student recently about how they make faces every time I give out the day's objectives. And they laughed and said yes, but they've not missed a class because they can see a change from one day to the next, and that - though sometimes a pain - makes it worth it.
So that's what I'm going to frame these last days with - if it's a pain but worth it for one of my students, it seems alright that it might be for me.
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