Tuesday, May 21, 2013

The Final Class of the Semester

This post has been published as a cowbird story.

Midway through the class I was teaching -- the final class of the semester, I announced that it was time to take a break. Unexpectedly, no one moved. One student eventually left the room for a couple of minutes, but for the most part, the students remained engaged with each other, talking about their masters degree projects, the masters program, and their future plans. Some of us selected more to munch on of the treats students brought to the class. Students had brought treats to most every class of the semester, but this day, the treats were extra special, including those pictured (shh! don't tell any university officials!).

My teaching of this group had been evaluated by a university observer a few weeks earlier. Recorded observations included: "Class feels 'together.' Everyone on the same page. Students seem genuinely interested in helping each other. Activity was very group oriented. Class almost feels like a family." Today, the family didn't want to separate.

A bit more than an hour later, I wrapped up the class and announced that we were done. Again, no one moved. Ten minutes passed; twenty minutes passed; thirty minutes passed. The interaction continued, and some expressed how greatly they had enjoyed meeting and working together throughout the semester. The starting time of the next class that was to meet in the same room crept closer, but no one in the room wanted this class to end.

Eventually, after additional assurances that we would all remain connected, the students began to disengage. The semester may have finally reached its end, but the bonds of this academic family might very well endure.

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