Nov 30, 2005

reasons to love teaching

1. A few weeks ago I spoke with a student whose friend had recently passed away. She came to ask if the eulogy she had started working on was good enough--we'd been learning different rhetorical devices, and I had mentioned that I had used them to craft something beautiful in memory of my grandfather. She had two paragraphs done, and her last words were "We had so many good times together." That's where you have to go next, I said. Tell the stories of the good times. She came back the next week to thank me, tell me how it went, how all her friends and family had been moved by what she said. Such moments are humbling.

2. Yesterday I read "We drove in snow tonight" to my ninth grade classes. When finished, I thanked them for the privilege of knowing them. Some applauded. Some cried.

3. Last night I printed out five letters of recommendation.

4. Today I gave a second opinion to a student whose college application essay needed surgery. Too much talking about the lesson, not enough of the story that is the lesson, I cajoled. He'd be in the operating room all night, he responded. I smiled.

[forty-sixth in a series]

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