My Beautiful Wickedness

A teaching gratitude post (a lot to be thankful for)
December 13, 2007, 9:46 pm
Filed under: Uncategorized

I teach some really neat students. Whether it’s student x in the Dylan/Dead cover band or student y the performance artist or student z the courageous freshman who left her home and came half a world away to (almost) become a national soccer champion…they just have a lot going on in their heads and some of it they share with me. It’s important to remember that at this time of year as teachers get inevitably frustrated when students forget whether Grover Cleveland supported the gold standard (he did) and other scintillating bits. (Don’t mock the learning of bits. You can’t draw without lines; you need to know something about something before you can recognize interpretations as such and start making your own.)

Anyhow…wow, tired…I try to let students know that I am fair, trustworthy, and that I’m not evaluating their self or their potential on any given piece. I’m evaluating how well they demonstrated their understanding on that attempt. Subsequent attempts might be different and better. Another day produces another result. But that bears no relation to their worth as a human being.

Every finals week, I stand in a roomful of really strung out and somewhat fearful kids — I want to tell them that this isn’t
that important. Grades are measures, but it’s the whole journey of their education that will matter. Today, I stood reviewing the portfolios for one class and just completely fell in love with them all, their young bright heads powing like fireworks,
attacking new ideas, making connections — hoping that they understand that being a historian is such a ironic job choice. You are drawn to history because something leads you to ask questions, to not accept a single “offical story” and to search for
many voices. And then you become a historian and you wind up presenting an “official story” (or sometimes, better, many
competing stories) and standing up every day in front of these self-selected skeptics. It’s a tough crowd.

I see someone googled my name with the “name, blog.” As I have a distinctive last name, I guess you were looking for me. Here I am. I feel a little weird about that, but hey.


3 Comments so far
Leave a comment

Happy Birthday! Hope you have a great day!

Comment by RockyCat

Thanks! So far, so good!

Comment by bridgett

Happy Belated 🙂 I love that you love your students…

Comment by imfunny2

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