To My Dear Students:
Over four years of planning, instructing, grading, and conferencing you've given me occasion to smile, cry, laugh, and scream (even if it's just in my head). And if I've learned anything, it's that there's always more to be learned.
Every semester I start out half optimistic, half realistic about the semester ahead of us. Most of you confirm my optimism. Some of you drown it in your sea of apathy, irresponsibility, and manipulations. You sleep through class. I seethe inside. You complain about the workload. I roll my eyes. You skip class, miss deadlines, and don't read directions. I put you on the blacklist.
I've been accused of forgetfulness, mistakenness, and crabbiness; of favoritism, vaguery, and small-mindedness; of racism, theft, and lies.
Some of you ask real questions, create stunning work, and practice genuine professionalism. You e-mail me when you miss class "just to let me know." I thank you. You tell us how this class is helping you with life on the outside. I do a little mental jig. You turn in work, don't make excuses, and help others out when they need it. I write you letters of recommendation.
I've been thanked for my clarity, reminders, and pleasantness; for my fairness, specificity, and knowledge; for my equity, generosity, and truthfulness.
And I've learned that there's truth about me in both the accusations and the compliments. I've learned that just as often as I perceive apathy, irresponsibility, and manipulations, I also see pseudo-adults struggling to know themselves, assert confidence, and figure out what life is all about. So at the end of every day -- even when I post caustic Facebook updates about you -- I pray for the generosity and humbleness to extend common grace to you.