Appreciation

After each of my two final class sessions yesterday a student came up to me, shook my hand & said "Thanks." Others waved & said "See you around" as they exited. Much appreciated. Half-way through the semester I thought all my classes were going badly, but I made a few changes & two out of the three turned around & ended well. I won't finish grading until next week, but I'm already organizing my classes for next semester. In twenty-five years as a teacher I have never taught the same class in exactly the same way -- I always change a text, or shift emphasis, or come up with new writing assignments. Next semester is going to be a challenge: for the first time in many years I will be doing three separate courses. Our normal teaching load in three sections (9 hours) but usually that is two sections of a lower-division course plus something else, but because of changing curriculum & staffing issues, I volunteered to do a big survey course & two upper-division literature courses, one of which will be small enough to run as a seminar. Shouldn't be too bad as long as I stay organized (organization not being my strong suit). Final thoughts on this semester: I had several really talented students -- the kind who always keep me on my toes -- but the ones I appreciated most are those who -- with more or less ability -- made a steady effort to engage the material. Those are the students who will see me through another decade of teaching.

Author: jd

Joseph Duemer is Professor of Literature Emeritus at Clarkson University in northern New York state. His most recent book of poems is Magical Thinking from Ohio State University Press. Since the mid-1990s he has spent a good deal of time in Vietnam, mostly Hanoi. He lives with his wife Carole & five terriers (four Jack Russells & one Patterdale) on the stony bank of the Raquette River in South Colton.

2 thoughts on “Appreciation”

  1. kudos to you man of feeling and ideas. here’s a poem for you w/out value in itself but how it refers. ed

    RADIAL SYMMETRY

    Devil or animal, demon or dog
    the baskervilles’ hound

    motive, purpose, intention
    aim, mark, target

    why this ‘motive’?
    the bullet mates with its mark

    don’t forget! history isn’t memory.
    just taste those tomatoes.

    ceremony processional bells
    vows and proclamation, then recession

    clues and cues, the displayed ring
    cut-sleeve boy story

    revisionism, re-visioning
    Soviet-style erasures

    rescue catch-phrases
    nick-of-time to the rescue

    understanding, not judging
    observer, phenomenological morality

    beautiful terrors floating
    worth, value, cost

    can it cost you your life?
    swing & push; lift the screw.

    Edward Mycue 7 December 2007

    for Joseph Duemer, tabletop teacher honest poet

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