I returned from class and there was a note stuck on my office door:
Hello!Oh, it would have been such a pleasure to meet the couple, who got married two summers ago. Of all the weddings of students that I have been to, this was unique because both the groom and the bride had been in my classes. Once, in the same class too. At the wedding "P" told me, "you are the only teacher we have invited." And for a good measure clarified that he wasn't referring to university teaching alone.
We came by to say hi since we were on campus. We hope you are doing well
"P" and "L"
I hope that was not the only gift that was destined for this term.
It is so strange that students have, over the years, made sure that I have such a Pavlovian response--they have successfully conditioned me into thinking that the end of a term means that I can expect gifts. It is their fault. Not mine. Nothing is ever my fault, of course ;)
Oh, I forgot that I already got a gift, even during the middle of the term:
I did get another kind of a gift--not a tangible one though.
A few weeks ago, I guest-lectured at a class that "M" teaches. A couple of days ago, "M" emailed me. They were discussing something in class. "At that point one student said, I think Sriram would ..." Isn't a student from a class where I guest-lectured referring to what I had shared with them also a gift? I think so.
A student writes in the final written assignment for the term:
[Without] sounding like a complete suck up just prior to finals week, I want to thank you for putting such time and effort into your class. You can look forward to another 5 star rating on "ratemyprofessor.com"I enjoy certain other kinds of gifts too, like in this comment. A reader who goes under the alias of "4umexpert" concludes after reading my op-ed:
SRIRAM, the issue may not be inferior liberal education, but your lack of abilities to teach.Teaching is a gift that keeps on giving, when I have the abilities and, apparently, even when I lack them!
No, all these do not mean that I am not open to the idea of cookies and chocolates and airfare to Ukraine as gifts. Oops, did I say Ukraine? I misspoke. Not just Ukraine, but a lot more :)
Seriously though, my thanks to students for all the fun and enjoyment that I get in this profession.
Samples of previous entries on this theme: here, here, and here