Today, just when I was going through a period of wondering if I’m able to reach and help my students as much as I hope to, I got an email from my supervisor in the English department, asking me to come to his office when I’m free. So I wandered over just minutes ago to the other side of the department and knocked on his door, only to have him wave me in and pick up his phone and start dialing. Then he motions me to sit in his chair, and gives me the phone. He’s dialed his voice mail, and the woman who’s left a message for him is a mother whose daughter was in one of my classes last semester, wanting to tell him how grateful she was her daughter had me for a teacher. She wasn’t sure if she liked going to college and was borderline ready to drop out, but throughout last semester talked about my class, how interested I was in what everyone was doing, how I took time out to help everyone individually, how I wrote lots of comments and actually cared about their work, and how this has decided her daughter’s mind to stay in school. The mother then said she looked through her daughters essays and, disqualifying herself as an expert on writing, said she could tell that I went beyond the call of duty with commenting and caring about her daughter’s growth as an individual in the world, and wanted both me and my supervisors to know this.
Sometimes we hear exactly what we need to hear exactly when we need it.