A Thanksgiving Letter to My Students

At a time known for gratitude, Harvest Moon expresses her appreciation to her students.

November 22, 2017
 
 

Thank you for coming to class. Though I’ve not said it in so many words, I’ve come to look forward to seeing you.

Thank you for proving that people from diverse backgrounds and political orientations can sit, work and learn together -- that cooperation does not depend on perfect agreement. When I said that our elected officials could learn a few things from you, I meant it.

Thank you for having a sense of humor.

Thank you for taking ideas in directions they weren’t intended to go. Watching you stretch the limits of concepts as you apply them to the world outside the classroom brings back my own memories of the joys of discovery.

Thank you for your trust. At a time when it is difficult to gauge the reliability of information and the credibility of sources, I do not take it for granted.

Thank you for your curiosity, for insisting that learning does not always follow a schedule, or even a syllabus. Some of my most enjoyable moments in the classroom have come from the detours and side streets you have suggested.

Thank you for reminding me why asking for examples, during a lecture on deviance, is a bad idea.

Thank you for attending office hours.

Thank you for asking for help when you need it. When you ask for guidance on an assignment or clarification of an exam question, you help me identify the places where I have room for improvement.

Thank you for sharing your aspirations, your fears and your confidences with me.

Thank you for your video and music recommendations. Though I don’t get the references, I am flattered that you thought I might.

Thank you for saying that I remind you of your mother. Even before you clarified that “She was, like, really, really young” when she had you and “doesn’t look old at all,” I took it as a compliment.

Thank you for your capacity to not only accept but also appreciate those who are physically, mentally and ideologically different from yourself.

Thank you for the compassion you extend to those who are struggling -- who are lonely, homesick, afraid or lost. Your quiet acts of kindness have not gone unnoticed; I feel privileged to have witnessed them.

Thank you for being slow to judge and quick to forgive. More than once I’ve benefited from these.

Thank you for your idealism. Your ability to envision the world as it could be is inspiring. You make me want to do, and be, better.

Thank you for what you plan to do after graduation. I hope that you will.

Bio

Harvest Moon is a sociology lecturer at the University of Texas at Arlington.

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