Monday, January 15, 2007

My students are growing up

At the conference last week I met one of the students from the first class I TA'ed. She just got her Master's degree and was at her first professional conference. She was from the first class I ever taught at university level during the first year of my PhD. I remember thinking a lot about how to be a convincing teacher when I felt so insecure myself and the age gap between me and the students was so small. I taught lab classes and a field course in my primary subject and some of the students were learning fast and I was afraid their interpretations were actually better than mine. This particular woman was one of the fast learning ones and she continued her studies within more or less the same field, meaning we're colleagues now. She did remember me and introduced me to people as "this is saxifraga, she used to be my teacher" and still meeting her as a colleague at a professional fuction made me act completely different towards her. More friendly, more collegial, sharing jokes about former professor and former advisors. It still makes me smile. I know being a TA does not count for much, but somehow I felt proud of her, if I had somehow contributed a teeny-tiny bit to what she is doing now.

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