Saturday, November 04, 2006

The cool professor - that's me

My all-time favorite students in my full-semester class have invited me to a party they are arranging tonight. They clearly want me to come and I definitely like to hang out with them. They are such a nice group of people and I like them as students but also as persons. They apparently love the way I teach and like that I interact and socialize with them outside class. We are living in this tiny society, so not socialising in one way or another is almost impossible. We do run into each other when buying groceries, going to the post office or looking at a new winter coat on a Saturday afternoon, as I did today. We also run into each other at the gym or in the swimming pool so there is really no way to be all distant and professor-y around here. BUT and here is the deal. While some of these people are only a few years younger than me, and could easily have become my personal friends if we had met in another setting, they are still my students. I will be grading their projects and their exams and I will pick whom I'd like to continue as my advisees for their Masters. I am absolutely flattered to hear that they think so highly of me and never miss a chance to tell me so. Today some of them were joking that they wanted to have people sign a petition to keep me in this job, when my temporary contract ends in December. Who would have thought so? I am taken aback by all this amazing support.

They say they like that I am open and honest about what it's like to be a professor and that I haven't forgotten what it's like to be a student. That all comes pretty naturally, since I really haven't forgotten. More surprisingly, maybe, they also say they like how the class is being structured and evaluated - despite a pretty high workload, and an individual research project that no other professors require for courses at this level. To sum up I think they genuinely like me and I can say the same about them, and apparently professors they genuinely like are being invited to their parties. This particular one is a quite special night with a special treat of a local delicacy and quite some anticipation surrounds the whole thing, and I am considering joining.

I have two hours to make up my mind. But since I have no other plans for my Saturday night, and my heater at home is making extremely annoying noices that drives me out of the building, I might end up going.

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