Monday, June 03, 2013

The end of the term. And the end of the year. Where are the gifts?

Looks like I already missed out on a gift!

I returned from class and there was a note stuck on my office door:
We came by to say hi since we were on campus. We hope you are doing well
"P" and "L"
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.

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 ""
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


Mike said...

We were warned a few years ago that we are not to accept gratuities. Some rule about a dollar amount per child? more B&T or Burgerville gift cards.

Shh don't tell... but I still eat the cookies and chew the gum that is handed to me between classes.

I especially love the unprompted cards and letters; I have a drawer full to remind me on a bad day that I better get it right the next.

The best was my family being asked to dinner last year. Maybe I will be old, or rather my students, enough one day to get a wedding invite?

Sriram Khé said...


let us not let the others know that we are in one awesome profession. We will continue to pretend that the pay sucks, we overwork, nobody cares, .... oh, wait, no need to pretend--those are also true!

Continue to enjoy the life, and here is to a lot more dinners and weddings!

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