Last night, I went to Graduation. Many people complain about our obligation: we have four graduations a year.
But I like Graduation. I like being reminded that students can make it through. I often see them in crisis: as an English teacher, when they have trouble with Composition and as an administrator, when they have any other varieties of trouble. It's good to be reminded that students can and do overcome these difficulties. Yes, I know our grim national statistics of how few people make it to college at all, and how many fewer finish a degree. But on Graduation night, I celebrate the ones that persevere.
Occasionally, I enjoy other celebrations. Last night, one of our department's members was chosen as Honored Faculty, and I got to introduce her. Joy! I've served under a Chair who, in her later years, never, ever would have nominated any of us, and it began to affect morale, mine at least. It's a treat to be able to nominate faculty for the position.
Afterwards, I waited in my office for my Poetry students to drop off their final projects and work. I require them to assemble some sort of manuscript, and to be eligible for an A, they have to do more than just put together typed pages. I'm always amazed at what they create. I shouldn't be--they're art and design students, after all, and they have access to all sorts of technology. But I'm always delighted.
And now, once again, I have a quarter or two ahead of me where I'm not teaching. It's traditional for new Chairs at my school not to teach for the first year of the position, but I'll probably start teaching again sooner than that. It's good to be reminded of why Chairs serve.
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