Wednesday, April 20, 2005

A note concerning student dedication

Recently, I received an absolute treasure of a note from one of my students. I mean, this is one of those items that represents a moment in your life that only a physical memento can capture.

And no, it was not a note thanking me for my hours of tireless devotion to the education of my students. Nor was it a note praising my research efforts or even my work on the No, this was one of those priceless notes that define the boundaries between student and professor.

I was lecturing in one of my classes. I had been a long day and I was in my second 80-minute lecture of the day (and if you ask my students, I’m sure they will tell you I get 90 minutes out of our 80-minute class periods).

I’m talking about how technology transfer has changed newsroom culture in the U.S. and the students are in various states of engagement. The ones on the front row are super engaged. The students on the second row are somewhat engaged, but I can see them drifting in and out at various points. And of course, there are some of the students on the back row who may or may not have heard a word I had said. It was just one of those days.

Half-way through the lecture, one of my students rose from the seat he/she occupied (name and gender obscured to protect the student’s identity), walked up and dropped a note in front of me on the podium. Then the student turned and walked out of the classroom.

I did my best to ignore the person, though I have to say that can be quite a feat when someone gets between you and the class you are lecturing. I paced to the other side of the room, lecturing away, and then returned to the podium to advance a Powerpoint slide.

As I did so, I glanced at the note and fought down a snicker. It was written in green ink on a torn piece of notebook paper.

Here’s the note:

In case you can’t make out the text, it reads:

Professor Stevens!
I came into class late so I couldn’t tell you that I have to leave early. Sorry

It was the “Sorry” that grabbed my attention. And the matter-of-fact tone. Of COURSE the student couldn’t tell me about the early departure. Coming into class late can have that affect on classroom discourse … ;-)

I could go one with my reactions, but I had best curtail them. I don’t mean to belittle the student involved, and the note did bring a surge of laughter to a otherwise exhausting afternoon.

I will treasure the note always.


Blogger Malaysian Debster said...

It's funny what students do sometimes...Hehe...You need that once in awhile to brighten up your day. =) I'm enjoying reading your blog (my 1st time so far since the engagement news). I'll be putting you on my list! ~Debbie Leong-Villarreal

12:09 PM  

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