On the last day of my Thursday night class, my students completely blew me away by having a surprise end of the semester party. They brought pizza, cold cuts, cheese, crackers, cake, brownies, chips, cider, drinks, chocolates. I was really blown away by the wonderful spread and touched by the heartfelt appreciation they showed me. It was the first time that I was nearly brought to tears by my students in the classroom. They let me know how much they enjoyed my class and how much benefit they received from it. They let me know that I had made a difference in their lives in some small but tangible way.
I, in turn, have learned so much from all of them. Many are returning adult students, some who've been out of school for more than twenty years, who have more drive, more determination and more passion for their education than their younger classmates. Some are attending college at the same time as their children. Others are raising little ones at home and juggling babysitting to make it to class. They struggle through full time jobs, raising children, paying mortgages and other hardships but come to class every night ready to continue their educational odyssey. They challenge me, argue with me and push me to give them the best educational experience I can. Every class has been a dynamic exchange of knowledge and experience. Every class I leave tired but stimulated and feeling so lucky to have had such an involved group of students.
My admiration for my students is limitless. They remind me that it is never too late to go after whatever it is you truly want. Never too hard to achieve your dreams. Never too proud to go back and start again.
They remind me of why it is I teach.