What I wish I could tell my students.

It's the last week of class, and many of my students are anxious about their grades. I wish I could tell them that I am anxious too, not because I think a grade is a perfect measure of learning, but because I know it causes them worry. I wish I could adequately convey the respect I feel for their efforts, and that I'm doing my best to keep the online gradebook accurate. It's not easy to keep up with student demands for timely and constantly updated grades. The website most of us use are poorly designed and mask how grades are stored in different parts of the website. And we have live, in-our-office students, with fear all over their faces that only a teaching ghoul would turn away. I wish students could see how half-hour chats with some of the most on-the-edge-of-passing-a-course students eat into my time. And then there's life. I haven't slept 3 hours straight in two weeks, mostly because one of my kids nursed a cough every night. I may still wear a suit and tie to class, but if you look closely, you'll see the tiredness. Students know this tiredness of work, family and school and I feel this bond most keenly at the end of the semester.
I wish I could tell them how it feels to hear that one of your colleagues was assaulted by her own student after class. What would my students think of the fear and love and complicated jumble of reactions I experienced as the faculty who intervened to stop the assault tells me the story an hour after it happens as he dabs his forehead from the cut he got from the assailant.  Students have shared so much of their lives with me, joy and pain, I wish I could share a bit of that back, in a joint contribution to our humanity.
There's no larger message to this post. I just wish I could tell my students more.

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