Friday, April 3, 2020

Marvin's Book Chapter 4: Tell me what you're great at

Recently I added a new question to my Unit 1 Pretest. 

After asking, “Who is the Commander in Chief?” and “Name five countries in Asia,” I asked the students something they weren’t ready for.

“#24: Tell me what you’re great at.”

When a roomful of fearful eyes darted up from the page, I changed it a little and added, “What would your NICE friends say you’re great at?”

A few students winced, so I continued. “For example, if you won the lottery what would you DO for fun that you’re already great at?”

A student blurted out, “Well I wouldn’t be HERE!” and a few others laughed along.

I didn’t laugh. I stopped cold and lost all my bouncing Tigger energy.

“Oh no! I don’t wish that for you! I want you to be happy, now and always, like I am!” 

I told them I taught my heart out as a graduate student for $1300 a class, just as hard as I teach full time now. And if I won the lottery tomorrow, I’d STILL be teaching here, same classes, same students, same attitude (cuter earrings), because every single day at my job is fun.

The class stopped and everyone looked up, because this whole “life thing” sounded serious.

I reminded them that life is supposed to be fun. FUN FUN FUN. Too many of them looked at me like I was crazy, which was a problem because it was early in the semester and I was still doing my best to not look crazy. 

Their answers to question #24 were beautiful. Across three classes my students candidly shared they can (among other talents, I’m sure) hunt, fish, sing, do hair, fix cars, build computers and make other people feel included.

The fact I think I have the dream job and get giddy at work sometimes bothers people.

One day I got to class ten minutes early, ready to set up. Another professor was still there, having a serious talk with a concerned student. I erased the board behind her and found a place to put my stuff. 

Then, I guess I swirled around like Snow White because she stopped talking to her students and said, “Did you just swirl?”

I caught myself and felt my hand against my favorite long peach, silky dress.

It was possible I just swirled, but just in case, I did a deliberate twirl and told her I was so happy to teach Reconstruction I couldn’t contain myself.

She told me to get my head checked, which was funny, so I swirled and twirled again, and soon enough I was off telling stories to another class, positive I have the dream job and wishing the same for all of them.