A Little Goes a Long Way

I think teaching is about more than just relaying information, holding office hours, grading papers, being a mentor, and making knowledge (with students).  It’s all of those things, of course, but it’s also in a sense not only about modeling an intellectual life but also passing on everyday “this is how you be a decent human” kind of skills, observations, wisdom, and practices.  To wit: manners, kindness, and little gestures go a long way.  Whether it is making sure to have a respectful tone in writing emails to a professor or coming to class dressed with a modicum of care or saying thank you, please, and you’re welcome, it makes me happy when students take their self-presentation and comportment seriously.  So, it’s nice to get acknowledgement that you’re more than just a talking head.  In other words, I like getting thoughtful messages and cards from students.

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