Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Catch up

Late yesterday I posted the last of my semester marks. Very happy to have that done and a little time to breath before the holidays.

What do I have to share after marking all those term papers and exams?

First when did they start teaching in school that capitalizing a word made it important? As in "The most Important thing to remember about this Issue is the Ethical consequinces (not my misspelling) of the practitioner's Actions." I wrote "Caps not nec." so many times my hand got cramped.

I am also struck by the cultural advantages some kids just have that puts them at an advantage over other students quite out of proportion to talent. Some students come from an educational background or region that just equips them to slip into university life, some have such a longer way to go to adjust from the style and communication of their communities before they can figure this out.

That goes two ways though. There are the privileged kids who have been gaming the system their whole lives (one conversation from a mother who works in the profession "he always has had a habit of doing his papers but forgetting to hand them in", yeah right) and the kids, who I admit, are dear to my heart, who don't do well at all their first assignments, often in this part of the world from small fishing villages, who nevertheless come to my office and say "OK tell me what I have to do to be better at this" and keep coming back at me, cheerful and determined, until they start to get it. That attitude is worth so much more than any GPA, that ability to take advice as an opportunity to learn not a criticism.

Versus the girl who came to my office and said to me "I don't think you understand, this paper is a C. I am an A."

Actually you might not be right about that kiddo, at least not today.

I am not one of those middle aged people who would ever talk about the problems of kids today however. Let me tell you they are marvelous. I wouldn't have given up the adult world to come here if they weren't. Underneath the style, they are just like we were, only now still open and vulnerable and funny and honest and real in a way that makes you want to just say "don't lose this" because so many of us do.

If you are making the adult, corporate Christmas party cocktail party rounds these days you know just what I mean. Did any one ever plan to grow up and become one of those women who makes sure every sentence lets you know how many accomplishments she has, "Funny you should say that I actually wrote a book about that"?

Of course some people retain what my students have. I had lunch yesterday with a chemistry teacher who got teary talking about how she feels when she imagines her students finally walking across the stage at graduation.

It's so important to make sure you spend your time doing the things that are worth getting teary about and not doing things just for external audiences. It's important to not get so task driven that you forget to play.

Which is what sewing is to me, and more on that later.

1 comment:

Judith Burgess said...

I think I just caught a glimpse of who Barbara really is and what she holds in her heart for the future of her students.