I returned from Thanksgiving break to learn that one of my friends in the program lost a student yesterday--suicide. This friend teaches freshmen comp too.
My heart aches a bit for her, a fellow second year, a talented writer with a bright sense of humor. How does one begin to process this kind of blank spot?
I think to my own group of students and how incredibly blessed I've been. I have a group of charming, eager, willing students, students who, today, asked me what I was teaching next semester because friends and room mates were looking for a "good" first year writing studies teacher; apparently, I've already got at least two room mates enrolled for next semester's time slot. This makes my heart swell; I've tried to be fair and tough and laid-back and honest and caring, and though I know I've had plenty of weak points in teaching, I know it's the best job I've done since teaching at the university level. I don't know if I'm finally picking up a rhythm or if it's because I really adore teaching writing (of any sort), but at the close of this semester, I don't feel that cloud of guilt surrounding me, only, perhaps, a little wisp of fog, that says I could have done better. I actually feel complete and full: sad to see them go, but also glad, because I know they've worked hard, and they're ready to move on and move up. It's amazing how that feels.