06 November 2010

an apple for the teacher

it's been a long time since i've had anything of consequence to write on the blog. actually, that's not true, but i've gotten out of the habit of keeping track of the crazy life moments that i want to write here. last week, i had one such moment and promised myself that i would take the time to write about it on the blog. so, (deep breath) here it goes.

last week, my student, katja, came into my office to talk about some problems she was having on her paper. she walked in and said, "i know this is super cliche, but i have an apple for you (as she hands me said apple). my grandparents own a 1000 acre apple orchard, and they brought me some over the weekend."

precious. and so not cliche. i took the apple, glowing, of course, and showering her with thanks. in between my thank you's and smiles, katja told me that she had asked her roommate if she thought it was ok to give an apple to her teacher. her roommate said, "um, i really don't think that's a good idea. i wouldn't do it." katja thought for a second and said to her roommate, "no, you don't know brooke. i think she'll love it."

but, what happened next was even better. we discussed her questions and determined some things she could do to improve her paper (which was already well-written). as she stood up to leave, she said, "i've worked harder on this paper than any other paper i've ever written, and i've loved every minute."

it's moments like this that make me love teaching. this semester, in particular, i have had more students than usual who have had breakthrough moments. in those moments, i am happiest. nothing is quite so exciting as seeing a student recognize and conquer a weakness in his/her writing or having a student, like angel, who realized this semester that her perception of Middle Eastern culture has been unconsciously formed through the lens of 9/11 and is dangerously biased. so, as she put, she has formed a "bigger picture" or "an end game" for the rest of her work in this class, which is to look for and draw out the similarities between cultures rather than the differences.

yes. this is why i love teaching. and, this is why i loved katja's apple. because, in the deepest deep of my heart, i am a teacher. and there's nothing i would rather be.


Anna B said...

brilliant and inspiring. just like your teaching. and your style. and your new curly hair.

seriously, you are changing students' lives--in their writing, definitely. but also in how they see things and think about things and how they think and feel about learning. they find out, with you, the deep, deep satisfaction of exploring ideas. it's a whole new world for them. way to go! apples for you! xo

Mike and Alexis said...

presh. you are a teacher. and i totally love and admire that about you.

MG said...

okay. seriously. i felt like i was in a movie just now. between the chill yet inspiring music in the background and your mad writing skills, i give it five and a half stars. out of five. write a book. pretty please?

Tammy said...

Beautifully put, Brooke. I am so glad you are teaching. These are the moments that make all the grading and not so great student moments worth it. YOU ARE AWESOME, And thanks for blogging again. Love it!

onlyang1 said...

Brooke! You are an amazing teacher and truthfully probably one of the best professors I have had so far in my college career. This 'ride' through the Middle East has definitely been a journey, but one I was willing to take. Glad you liked my final presentation, I really wanted to surprise you with that one :) With a perfect through off using A Thousand Splendid Suns poems. Come on, thats boring. Ha! But I truely enjoyed this semester with you and I wish you all the best. Thanks for everything.


something to remind me of me