The end of the semester is here. Stuck right between Thanksgiving and Christmas, it’s the jolly time of harried non-collegiality, post-break plagiarism, end-of-term laziness, and all around lack of willingness to make the final push to the end. It hasn’t been helped, really, by having only one week of classes between Thanksgiving break and finals week, but such is life. However, there are lights at the end of the tunnel:
- the rare student that actually does take the paper you assigned seriously. (So seriously, in fact, that instead of the five pages that you assigned, she turns in twelve. A twelve that (she tells you in a quick email) she actually enjoyed writing!
- the (also rare) student that’s had a major positive shift of opinion about course contents. (I had this student both last year and this year; in our university’s version of “Intro to Literature” he complained long and loudly that, as far as he was concerned, poetry would always be a waste of his time. This semester, in a survey course, he informed me that as a result of a few college courses–some of which are my own, I’ll brag–he’s done a complete 180 and thinks that poetry is actually interesting and worth serious, active, energetic study.)
There are other lights similar to these. Though they are often few in number, they edify yet once more–at the time that such edification is most needed–that the profession, the pedagogy, the whole thing actually does matter, and actually does make a difference.
Now, back to the grinding-stone.