Saturday, May 7, 2011

roller coaster of school and ... love!

The semester is winding down at my community college and it's an emotional roller coaster. I get choked up with love for some of my students and how I'll miss seeing them each week. And... getting kinda happy at not having to deal anymore with the few students who are <stinkers>!

Silly me, I thought teaching at a college meant I wouldn't have to deal with much in the way of discipline issues. But that's not what I want this post to be about. Let me change gears.

I do love my students, and some of them love me back. Get your mind out of the gutter! This is platonic love between people working toward a common goal of getting our English on.

My students are nothing if not complex. Julie has served a couple of combat deployments in the Marines, drives a Harley, has extensive tats, but can dress up like a girly-girl when she's in the mood and rocks a college research essay like nobody's business. I adore her and told her if her momma don't treat her right, she can come on and be my daughter.

A former student that I hadn't seen in a year came by to tell me he'd received his bachelor degree. He brought me angel trumpet flower plants that he grew in his own greenhouse. Sven is a retired Marine Sergeant Major (the highest enlisted rank there is in the Marines), 6 ft. 6, with a mad green thumb-- yet I doubt you would peg him on sight for a flower lover. He looks more like the biker that he sometimes is on weekends. Yet, there he was outside my office door with a cardboard box full of plants. He even brought me photos to show what the plants will look like when they get mature. Made me feel like a queen to have Sven care enough to bring those plants in.

Another former student popped in. He'd been away at the Merchant Marine Academy, but is now back in town finishing up a few credits to get his bachelor degree. While Gregg was gone, he served on ships in the Bering Straits and in the Great Lakes in the winter. He got hurt twice by equipment, lines snapping, that kind of thing, and showed me the scars on his leg and the back of his neck. He's 23 now and has come a long way from the socially awkward 17 year old I had in freshman composition. He said I was the only teacher at my school that he wanted to come back and say "hi" to. How humbling is that! Sheesh.

Like I said, a roller coaster ride. I'm still hanging on, getting ready for our school's graduation ceremony and the start of summer session classes. And a whole new crop of students. Some will be stinkers, some will be future sparkly gems.

(Names are always changed to protect student privacy.)


  1. Sounds like a pleasure to teach such interesting people. My daughter will begin working on her Master's in a few weeks and hopes to teach in a college when she's done.

  2. The "stinkers" will always be there, mixing up your days with good and bad. Smile! But I can really understand the relationship and love you develop for your students. In essence, they become your "temporary children." Smile!

    I am not a teacher, but a teacher as a mom. And what a feeling of accomplishment for me, when now that they are grown, my three children have taken the opportunity to tell me and their father that we are good parents and have done a great job! (Tears!)

    Though I do not know you, Melanie, I feel so proud of you. My middle sister is also a teacher, for young adults that went astray and didn't finish their schooling, but are now working on doing so. And she, too, has her testimony of how many have appreciated her help, and dare I say "love!"


  3. Thanks, Virginia. You are so right about all parents being teachers. I came to teaching at age 42 and it has been an adventure. My students constantly amaze me. I appreciate your comments!!
    PS Sorry if you have had trouble leaving comments-- Blogger has been trying to fix the problem for weeks.