Not a member yet? Register now and get started.

lock and key

Sign in to your account.

Account Login

Forgot your password?

Seasonal Sentimental

23 Nov Posted by in Academics | 2 comments

For those accustomed to Big Thoughts and Crucial Issues in the blog, apologies. As this is posted I’m in Vietnam and not up to Big and Crucial. A more personal musing, instead.

I realized last week that I had only 6 sessions left with my world history class (now 4). And I realized, as I have often done in recent years particularly with undergraduate classes, that I felt at most ambivalent about the imminent completion. Of course it’s nice to have a change in routine, and not grading for several weeks is a real joy. But it’s also a bit sad to realize that I probably won’t see most of these students again, or at most in passing. It’s been a really pleasant class, with good discussions, a lot of apparently interested students, and some at least apparently nice people. One works with them pretty hard, and then the connection ceases. Sure, I still have a few former undergraduates with whom I’m in contact. (Once in a while, in fact, I meet a doddering former student from way back, and I confess I don’t always remember the name or face.) But it seems a slight sorrow that so many of them will simply disappear from view.

And with this in mind, another seasonal note. I always remember a quite rigorous history class I took as a sophomore. The professor was distinguished and demanding. Our schedule had us meet the Friday between Thanksgiving and the weekend, no big bother to me as I couldn’t get home. But he made it clear that if he had to show up, there would be something from that class session on the final — and indeed there was. Later I had the same guy in graduate school and we ended up corresponding after his retirement — not friends, but warm acquaintances. I even published one of his later articles, a pretty good one. So connections remain sometimes.