the reason why

5 12 2008

i came back from my last class of the semester at noon today to find T waiting for me outside my office. i was a little surprised to see him–he was signed up for a block on my schedule at the tutoring center, but he’s signed up before and not come in, and i thought it likely that today would be a day like those others. i welcomed him in, and we sat down to talk about his paper. T has not been a model student this semester: he’s missed a lot of classes, when he is there he tends to come in late with too-short or missing assignments, he hasn’t done very well on his papers, and he’s the kind of kid for whom you have to repeat the instructions several times and then go over to his desk and say “write sentences,” not because he can’t hear or doesn’t understand, but because he just seems to tune out to teacher voice or assume it isn’t really addressed at him until you bring a physical presence in to intervene with his staring into space. and when you do intervene, you get very dirty looks. T is a city kid, and around here “city” only means one city, so his dirty looks are well-honed.

but this time he had a draft, at least 3 pages of the 5 that are due friday, and a handful of good, sharp questions about organization strategies, how he might best make use of his sources, what the place was for his own ideas in this source-based argument he’s working on, and so we had one of those really good tightly-textually-focused conversations that writers and writing teachers just bliss out about. and then when his questions were answered, after telling me he was feeling a lot better, because he’d been really stressed out about how he was going to make this project work and have enough to say about his material, but he could see it making sense now, he stood up and shook my hand. “thank you for this semester,” he said. “you were a phenomenal teacher. you pushed us, and we didn’t always like it, but your evaluation from me? all 4s and 5s. thank you.” “i’m sure i’ll be back for help with papers for my other classes,” he added on his way out the door.

i sat here stunned for a few moments, just watching the doorway and thinking about those dirty looks. he used the word “phenomenal.”

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12 responses

5 12 2008
sometimerose

It’s moments like these…

5 12 2008
sometimerose

It’s moments like these…

5 12 2008
ovrclokd

*vicarious GLEE*
that sound? that’s the sound of you Changing Someone’s Life. hopefully it will echo quietly in the back of your mind, the next time the papers and the crumbs and the cat hair appear poised to take over…

5 12 2008
ovrclokd

*vicarious GLEE*
that sound? that’s the sound of you Changing Someone’s Life. hopefully it will echo quietly in the back of your mind, the next time the papers and the crumbs and the cat hair appear poised to take over…

5 12 2008
donnickcottage

Atta girl. Tells you you picked the right path.

5 12 2008
donnickcottage

Atta girl. Tells you you picked the right path.

6 12 2008
metalmonkey

::high five!::
Fuck yeah! You know what’s up!

6 12 2008
metalmonkey

::high five!::
Fuck yeah! You know what’s up!

7 12 2008
lavender_liz

Great Job Chickie!!

7 12 2008
lavender_liz

Great Job Chickie!!

8 12 2008
faerieariel

“I was impressed to see that she made proper use of the word ‘myriad’ in her suicide note.” Heathers.

8 12 2008
faerieariel

“I was impressed to see that she made proper use of the word ‘myriad’ in her suicide note.” Heathers.

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