My daughter has been sick for a week, and yesterday it became clear that she passed the illness onto me. My throat is sore, I’m tired, and I expect I’m on my way to losing my voice. So I wasn’t particularly excited to teach for three hours today. But once I got here, I remembered why it is that I teach even when I’m not feeling well.
The students in the first class spent the 10 minutes before class chattering to each other. This might not seem like a big deal, but this is the quietest class I’ve ever had. To see them talking, joking, and having fun with each other made me smile. To top if off, one of them asked me if I was feeling better, and I said no. He said I should have stayed home, to which I said that sick days weren’t an option as a faculty member. I told them that I love my job, but not that aspect of it. He and his classmates reactions to that told me more than anything this quarter that they appreciate me.
The great moment in the second class didn’t come until the very end. After the class was over, a student stopped me to ask about a program he had written. It was for his own purposes, not associated with the homework, and I hadn’t had time to look it over this weekend. I gave him a suggestion, and he was very happy about it. Another student commented that he was also writing code not related to the class. They both agreed that they simply love programming and computer science. I told them that I was proud of them, which is more true than they know.
It turns out even on a day when it hurts to talk, I wouldn’t want to be any place but with my students. They make me happy in so many ways.