Friday, December 04, 2009

A happy

I know a gripe a lot about students on here. I think it's the old "bad news gets noticed" thing - the students who do what they're supposed to don't really draw my attention most of the time.

But I do have to talk about one student today, because I'm so proud and happy for him. This is a guy I've had in all of my classes so far...he didn't do so hot in the first one, but I found out later on why: he was battling back from a drug addiction. And then, the next semester, he came and told me he had been diagnosed with OCD, they were trying to get his medications regulated, and he was having a hard time. I gave him some encouragement and allowed him an extension on a project because it seemed clear to me that (a) he wasn't playing me and (b) he would really be helped with it. (And he was).

Now, this semester he was in the most advanced of my classes. And I have to say, a lot of the other students are lucky I don't curve, because it would be this dude and another guy (who is super competitive) setting the curve, and then everyone else lagging back - the next highest grade after their two would be a very low B.

This student got back into the honors program on campus after having had his problems; as part of the requirements he has to do research papers in classes of certain faculty (I am one). He handed the paper in today.

It was freaking amazing. Really well done, he went to the best possible sources (rather than just the most easily-found sources), it's really well written. (And no, before you ask, I KNOW that he did all the work himself. He's that kind of a person.)

I was so happy reading it - I could tell he had enjoyed the project from reading it, and I enjoyed reading what he wrote up. And it made me all the happier to think that this was a guy who had been struggling to make it in school a couple years ago.

So, he's getting his A for the honors project. (His final project paper - the basic class requirement - was also by far the best of everyone's in the class. I can tell he really loves writing; I think if he comes looking for career advice I'm going to suggest "science writer" because I think he'd do well at it). I wrote on the paper that it was well written-and researched and an excellent paper (really, it's the best of these honors papers I've seen, I think). But I'm also going to tell him when I hand it back that he writes well - very clearly and in a way that is interesting to read. I think he probably already knows that - he won an on-campus essay contest earlier this fall - but I also think it's always good to let someone know when something they do is genuinely good, that kind of encouragement makes a big difference to some folks.

People like him are the reason I went into teaching, and the reason why I stay, despite all of the 'special snowflakes' I complain about.


The Fifth String said...

*wipes a small tear*

Beautiful, Ricki.

Kate P said...

That was great. I hope this is just the beginning of great achievements for him. He seems to be flourishing in your class.

And just so you know--there are many of us high school librarians who are telling our students that using good resources like our databases will make their teachers (and college professors) very happy!