We’re three weeks into the Fall quarter at DePaul, and as is typical for the first term in an academic year I’m finding myself energized and enthusiastic about my classes and students. No doubt over time I’ll get more tired and/or my students will do something silly or worse to annoy me, but for now I would like to share all the things that my students are doing that I love:

  • Showing up to class: I have for the most part perfect attendance right now. And today one student was particularly dedicated to coming to class on time. His train stalled between the Lincoln Park and Loop campuses, and he got off the train and literally ran to class to be on time. He showed up out of breath and a bit sweaty, which is how I was able to get the story. I feel like I should get him some sort of treat for that level of dedication …
  • Participating in class: I use cards to call on students randomly, so I force a bit of participation. But students in both my classes are particularly engaged this quarter. I still get passes, of course, but even those include more explanation than usual. And when I get a bunch of passes in a row and ask for volunteers to help with a more detailed explanation of a concept, I have a lot of hands that go up.
  • Coming to office hours: I’ve had more students come to office hours so far this quarter than the entirety of Spring quarter. While it means I’m busier, I really like it.
  • Asking questions by email: I always tell students at the beginning of the quarter that I’m a rare creature who actually answers email and that they should contact me if they get stuck, but some quarters the number of students who contact me remains small. That is not true this quarter, and although it (also) makes me busier I am enjoying it.
  • Asking questions in class: I have a reasonably large bunch of students in each class who ask great questions. It’s so nice when that happens because it makes the class more dynamic and fun.

Let’s hope that all of this continues. I would enjoy an entire quarter like this!