Wednesday, February 24, 2010

The Thoughtful Student

Note: Comment moderation will be erratic and infrequent for a day or two, hence this rather uncontroversial post today.

There are a lot of examples in blogs of the stupid and annoying e-mails that students send to professors. I have posted some of these, and admit to finding them somewhat entertaining when posted on other blogs. But let's not forget that many students are thoughtful and responsible people who don't send these messages. And let's also appreciate the times when a student does something very nice.

I recently found this heartwarming note stuck in my office door:

Hey FSP,

I was just in [your building] dropping off flyers and thought I'd drop by and say hi. Unfortunately you aren't here, but just wanted to tell you that I'm missing [your class from last term]. Thanks for the awesome class!

Your Student

That makes up for a lot of grading agony and other of less savory aspects of teaching.


Anna Blanch said...

What a lovely note!

I guess the bizarre, rude, and overly friendly notes often get more press because they evoke incredulity. But it's always nice to receive a note like this!

Chris said...

It was those types of gestures -- and the students who make them -- that motivated me to give up my career in industry and come back to higher education.

Anonymous said...


a physicist said...

Totally agree!

One of my memories: When I was a TA, there was a student who was slightly whiny and always seemed a bit bitter about taking physics. He never seemed pleased with the class or with my ability to help him, although he kept coming back for more help. At the end of the semester he gave me a nice card that he had made on his computer. It really made my day, and of course I still have the card.

Anonymous said...

My co-teacher and I recently got an email from a Vanderbilt Med student who had taken our cancer biology class, thanking us for how it has prepared him for his coursework. One email like that a year can help keep things in perspective--I wanted to frame it and put it over my computer.

Mark P

Genomic Repairman said...

That is the stuff that makes it all worth it.

Anonymous said...

FSP, has any of your students treated you like a motherly figure? i.e. perhaps grown too attached towards you? I guess this typically occurs more frequently for K-12 teachers but I wonder if it does happen to older students as well. Wonder if you could share how did you dealt with it.