A few months ago I wrote about teaching and the challenges and privileges of the classroom. Somewhere along the way I forgot to back to classroom in this space, and tonight as I finalize my course schedule for next quarter, it seemed a good time to introduce you to my Fall '09 English 101 students. They were feisty, intelligent, challenging, caring, inventive, creative, diligent, stubborn, and most of all, inspiring. On one of my worst days last quarter, when I wanted to crawl back into bed and cry until my eyes ran dry, I had a full days worth of individual conferences. I sat in my office and in twenty minute increments I talked to one student after the other, and it only took about five minutes of the first conference for me to realize that whatever my own shortcomings, in that space, for those twenty minutes, I was there for them, I was their teacher. It's important some times, maybe most of the time, to remember to step outside of ourselves and to realize we might be able to give someone else what we cannot give to ourselves.
On Wednesday I will get a new group of students, new challenges, more laughter, more invention (teaching, I've found, is at least 30% spontaneous invention). I'm looking forward to meeting all of them - hopefully they'll be as lively as the last bunch.