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.