Wednesday, November 2, 2016

Three Joyful Moments

This week is a busy one. Last week was too. (Lately, they all seem to be, honestly...) It's advising season as we prepare for registration for the spring semester, and this means extra meetings.

But amidst all the busyness, three joyful moments for me:

1. I had a hallway conversation with a fellow professor who was once one of my middle school students. (Yep...I'm getting old...that the kids I taught when they were young adolescents are now colleagues of mine? Yikes.) But the conversation was so fantastic: brief, but deeply reflective about the kind of learning environment we want our institution to be for faculty. I wonder sometimes how many colleges and universities think of themselves in that way: a place for professors to continue to learn, to develop, to hone their craft, to grow?

2. During a group advising session last night, one of my junior (3rd year) advisees and one of my freshman (1st year) advisees were talking across the table while waiting for me to come over and talk with them about their 4-year plans. Both are future middle school teachers. As I walked toward them, I overheard the junior said to the freshman something like, "I'm glad it's been a good experience for you so far in Education...but just wait! It gets better!" This made me feel so proud of our program, and the future we are privileged to have a hand in shaping. We start them off well...and they find it just gets better the further they go in their studies in Education.

3. My Elementary Science Methods course is a little odd this semester: I typically have about 20 students, but due to the foibles of scheduling, I only have 5 students taking the course this fall. This has been a wonderfully weird experience for me, and I find I run the course much more like a seminar than a lecture-based course. Today we went far off topic (we often get a little off topic...) because they were asking such great, deep questions about how to get students engaged in learning, and what we can do as teachers to help support them in this. The conversation was so rich that I totally lost track of time, and when I realized that we only had five minutes left, I exclaimed in dismay: I had only taught about a third of my intended lesson plan! But my students--these amazing scholars!--immediately suggested a solution: none of them have a class after our scheduled block on Friday, and they suggested that we plan to stay late on Friday afternoon, to not only participate in the hands-on activities planned for Friday's lab experience, but also to complete the lesson discussion from today.

I am blessed to be part of this place. I am honored to serve alongside these amazing faculty members and to work with students of this calibre.

I have my moments of stress, for sure. I have moments I am overwhelmed by the challenges of professing.

But these joyful moments were a great reminder for me of just how blessed I am to be here.

The Prairie at Dordt College, September 22, 2016. Image by Dave Mulder [CC BY-SA 2.0]


  1. I'm thankful with you that you had these positive experiences! I'm thankful for you for working with my 201 students and making your semester even more hectic than before!

    1. It's been a lot of fun, Ed...if a little busier than expected. Glad to help, and I hope it's a positive experience for our students!