A Year of Nights with Wondering – I

The Kindness of Strangers

I have this quote posted on my office door.

Every day, every day I hear

enough to fill

a year of nights with wondering.

– Denise Levertov

My sentiments exactly.   One of the reasons I enjoy teaching so much is the daily surprise.  I am in awe at the courage, resiliency, cheerfulness, cleverness, variety, individuality and kindness of my students.  Every day I come back to my office with a story.

This is a story about kindness.  I have seen many students respond to the stress of others.  Walking  around the classroom during group work, I have heard simple encouraging words, sharing of effective study habits, spontaneous offers of phone numbers and formations of study groups.  Most of all there is  a sense of compassion in the students’ voices.  I am always touched.

Many years ago I, very unprofessionally, let slip to my calculus class that I was having a medical issue.  The next day three young men came up to me after class and offered to pray for me. I was stunned into a stuttering thank you and reassured them that I had hopes that the issue wasn’t that serious.

Last week I nearly lost my voice due to a cold. I managed to get a microphone set up in my classrooms. (Thanks Travis) But on Wednesday toward the end of my fourth class, my voice was failing.  Spontaneously one of the students started reading what I was writing on the overhead so that I did not need to.  She had sensed my distress and acted.  She has a big heart.

Every day, every day I hear enough to fill a year of nights with wondering.


About jrh794

I am a sixty-five year old math instructor at Southern Oregon University. I taught at the College of the Siskiyous in Weed California for twenty-six years. Prior to that I worked as a computer programmer, carpenter and in various other jobs. I graduated from Rice University in 1967 and have a MS in Operations Research from Stanford. In the past I have hand-built a stone house and taken long solo bicycle tours. Now I ride my mountain bike and play golf for recreation.
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One Response to A Year of Nights with Wondering – I

  1. Dan Boone says:

    unusual insights

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