Posted by John Holland on Tuesday, 12/24/2013
I am going to eat this apple. When I do it will be the best apple I have ever tasted. It is a special apple. You might say it is magical, even if it did come from the VCU dining hall. It was given to me by one of my college students in my Foundations of Education course. In fifteen years of teaching I have never received an apple before. I never really expected to either.
My clients, at least until last summer, had always been children and parents living in poverty. I wouldn’t want a gift from them. I have received several musical ties over the years, purchased from the dollar store, which I cherish. I break out those ties the week before holiday break each year and wear them with a swagger I usually reserve for my crispest fedora. But, a couple weeks ago, I received my first apple from an adult student. Maya (pseudonym), who is studying to become a school counselor, wanted to thank me in a small way for my teaching. In our final exam I asked my students to tell me what they learned about education, their profession, or themselves. Here was what Maya wrote.
I have also learned a lot about myself and how I learn. I realized I hate tests and would rather write a paper about what I love. This class also helped me figure out how much I will love working as a school counselor. I love kids and I love learning. I just want to do both at the same time.
This apple is magic because it convinced me that I can make a difference as an educator of adults as well as children.
I want to thank Maya and this particular class. They taught me that a lot of what I am doing is working, at least the way I hoped it would. I learned that with 48 students email is not a viable option for coursework submission. I learned that college students really do want to be challenged, they want to take part in a community, they want to care. I learned that I should probably give some quizzes so that the reading is more accountable. I learned that the counter-narrative portrayed in our textbook is necessary, even if it can be dry. Finally, I learned, like many of my students stated in their final exams, that I am deeply committed to my future profession (professor) and that I may just be ready to prepare the next generation of educators.
Best wishes on your journey to Maya and my Foundations of Education class of Fall 2013.