OK, this is probably pathetic, but I tend to save the evaluations and letters of recommendation people have written for me over the years, and I go back and reread them on days when I’m feeling particularly futile, to remind myself that I am bright and capable and that I do make a difference to at least some of the kids I teach.
One of the students I’ve greatly enjoyed over the years was a music major, with a specialty in voice. I taught her once as a freshpeep and later as a senior, but Mondoville being what it is, we’d run into each other on a weekly basis, if not a daily one, in the cafeteria or in the hallways. When she put together an EP of her own religious and secular songs, I bought it (and in fact, listen to it on a pretty frequent basis — I don’t just like and want to encourage her, I like the music.) She’s one of those people who brightens the places she goes, and I’ve always been happy when our paths intersected.
As I mentioned, she was a student in the second half of my Brit Lit survey a couple of years ago, and one day, I was discussing Shelley’s “To a Skylark,” and explaining things to the class. “A skylark,” I said, “is like [my student]. It is tiny, sings beautifully, and soars to heights beyond our sight.” Since that time, I’ve called her “Skylark,” and I’ve told that story a couple of times, most notably when she surprised and honored me by asking me to present her at Mondoville’s Senior Recognition Night (and it was both a surprise and an honor — remember, she was a music major, and only had me for two classes.)
In any case, the Skylark is preparing to start her own nest with a wedding that is approaching with what I’m sure she must find breathtaking speed. Nonetheless, she found the time to talk a bit about some of her professors at her blog, and again, I’m touched and honored.
Thanks, Skylark — I’ll save this one. Keep singing; keep soaring.