Tomorrow is the last day with my special summer class – I can’t believe the four weeks have gone by so quickly. I’m in the midst of grading their final papers, and I keep catching myself thinking how fabulous they are both as individuals and as a group, as students and as people, and how I wish all of my classes were like them.
Either it’s the extra chunk of salary this class is putting in my bank account or these are just genuinely great kids, I don’t know. I do know that they have surprised me over and over again this term – mostly in good ways. There were a couple of unpleasant surprises, but I can’t expect any class (not even this class) to be perfect (not even when they’re this close).
They’ve brought energy and enthusiasm to the classroom every single day, even at the godforsaken hour of 8:00 in the morning. Not one single time have they failed to chorus happily “GOOD MORNING DR. VAGUE” when I come in the door. The excitement in the room is palpable, bringing me back to how I felt the summer before my freshman year of college, when the world was still undefined, waiting to unfold and lay itself out in front of me like an unfinished map. Their writing has been miles away from the remedial level I’d been led to expect – they’ve written with heart, humor, consideration, trust, bravery, and mostly good grammar.
They’re registering for fall classes right now, and by the time I see them in my classroom again (assuming I will), they’ll be managing several other courses, activities, student groups, new roommates and relationships, dorm cafeteria food, and all the other distractions of freshman year. Will they retain their cheerful good humor or will they become part of the disgruntled mass of tired and distracted students who “just don’t see the point” of a required literature sequence? Please, please don’t let it be the latter. I just couldn’t stand it.
I am very glad this class went so well for you, and I would personally like to believe that your excellent teaching and introduction to the literary world will keep them from being the latter.
This is the awesome thing about being “underprivileged” — they don’t think that college is a given and therefore don’t treat it with the barely veiled disdain that some of those privileged kids show. I’ll bet they stay truthful and enthusiastic. And I’m sure you helped.
Thanks, you guys are both so nice.