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.