Thursday, August 11, 2011

feeling awesome

Yesterday was spent in my jammies grading stacks and stacks of final exams. 

Originally, the final exam was supposed to be a comprehensive multiple-choice looong test covering all the text reading, lectures, and group presentations. 

As the end of the summer term neared, however, I kept feeling like I wanted to do something to give back to my class. My students this term were some of the very best. For three hours, twice a week, they were actively engaged and had excellent participation. They genuinely shared what was in their hearts through their comments and allowed themselves to be vulnerable. Because of them, this term has been hugely edifying and satisfying for me as a professor. After all they had done, I really didn't want to make them take such a grueling final exam. 

And since I'm the professor, I can do whatever the heck I want. 

So I changed the final. 

I told my students how grateful I was for all their hard work and that I wanted to help soothe their stress during finals. In place of the test, I asked them to write about three principles they had learned in our Stress Management class and explain how those principles had helped them. 

Reading through their finals yesterday was an absolute joy. 
Their writing was beautiful and poignant. 
They talked about having gained so much more self-awareness and personal insight as a result of the class. I could tell that they had really, truly learned something valuable. 
 I felt so honored to have been their teacher, to have played a small role in their learning.

And you know what else? 
All this made me feel like a great teacher. 

That's not something I feel very often.

I think we all deserve, every now and then, to be hit with some good, strong self-confidence in what we do.
It's a wonderful thing when we allow ourselves to feel awesome.

22 comments:

Erin said...

Wow, this genuinely brought tears to my eyes. :) I am so happy for you and hope that you continue to have moments like this to show just how awesome you are. :)

Gertrude said...

You should really be proud of yourself! Congrats :)

Autumn said...

Individualizing for students is so important. I respect that you don't teach the same class every year and like to switch it up. I TAed for a Professor who thought otherwise, and it was so boring having to sit through her class again for grading purposes.

Mallorie Owens said...

That's wonderful, and thank you for being one of the wonderful teachers who gives back to their students when they work hard :)

Kelsi said...

Wow. If only every teacher was like you. You're inspiring. =)

Jessica Wray said...

I often feel like reflecting on what I've learned is far more productive than tests. I bet your students really appreciated you doing that. Yay for teachers like you!

Annie said...

I have to admit, I kind of wish I could read all their papers, well maybe not ALL of them, haha but at least some of them.
I wish all my teachers were like you! I would probably go to school for the rest of my life if that were true.

Julie said...

Way to go, so happy for you! Sounds like an excellent semester :)

Valerie said...

It's so important to feel validated in what you do, especially as a teacher. It's a profession like no other! Sounds like all your students are extremely blessed to have you as a teacher!

Ryan Adair said...

Congrats to you! I also really adore this picture of you and the hubs. :)

Jenna said...

Such a great teacher you are. Seriously, my whole time at BYU I probably only had 4 teachers as awesome as you are. Your students will never forget you!

Meg {henninglove} said...

love that photo!! makes me feel happy. what a great teacher to change the final i know your students definitely appreciated that!

Jenna said...

Awww! If only all schools were filled with professors like you! :) What a sweet post!

Justina F. Lee said...

You've got a beautiful soul Sam :-)

Alexis Kaye said...

It certainly sounds like you are an excellent teacher :)

Caitlin said...

Sounds like you are a great professor :) The world could definitely use more like you!

Collins @ Life. Mostly Sweet. said...

Awesome! Be proud of yourself for this. :)

Emma Frances said...

You sound like the most wonderful teacher! I wish that I could take your class--and maybe someday I will be able to! It's nice to hear you had such a wonderful summer semester though :]

Danielle V. said...

Congratulations! Teachers are amazing human beings. You are truly making a difference, and that is wonderful :)

Best,
Danielle
http://loveandlookpretty.blogspot.com

L!$@ said...

Do you want to come and be my lecturer?!?!? That is awesome that you changed it...because sometimes exams really don't show what we have learnt as students. Nice work! Bet your students loved you even more after that!! :D

Blue said...

You sound like an amazing teacher. If all teachers were like that, imagine what a wonderful place the world would be...

Victoria said...

Out of all the blogs I follow, yours is the one of the few that I actually read, not just look at the pictures. I love your blog so much!! And your pictures are always fantactic! I'm going to be an English professor one day and I hope I get the same response from my students as you do from yours!
With Love,
Victoria
Vi K E Y: unlock your world.