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Let's Take a Walk
Let's Take a Walk

I'm a college instructor, and it's always nice when students show genuine interest or acknowledge me as a human being. For example, today one of my students and I ended up walking the same direction after class, and as we went we chatted about class-related things. It wasn't anything huge or remarkable, but it always brightens my day when my students are friendly and comfortable talking to me outside of class.

Little Gestures Win the Day
Little Gestures Win the Day

I'm a professor, and I get upset when people tell me about how entitled this generation of college students is. I see gratitude, hard work, and thoughtfulness quite often. Here's one little story: in class, I mentioned having a headache. At the end of class, one of my students gives me two extra-strength Tylenol. Tiny gesture, but so sweet. Here's another thing that delights me: when my students want to introduce me to their parents at graduation. I'm at a large state school in the US. So there's usually a lot of anonymity, and it's fairly impersonal. But when these students introduce me to their parents, and their parents say, "Oh, YOU'RE Dr. FrauBoots? Thank you for everything you've done for my son/daughter," well, I'm floating for days. One more small gesture: when one of my students stays after class to ask a question, and s/he helps me erase the board. Again, small gesture, but so thoughtful!

A Hug a Day Keeps the Blues Away
A Hug a Day Keeps the Blues Away

Two stories from 5th grade where I worked as a para/reading teacher. I had a kid who was ALWAYS distracted and out there, but genuinely tried his best. Sweetest little guy. One day he walks up to my desk with an expression of pure joy... That was replaced by the most baffled face I've ever seen. He then solemnly said, "Miss Girllock, my train of thought just chugga-chugga-choo-choo'd away." He marched back to his desk and sat down while I tried not to die laughing. Second one... On my last day as a para, before I had to switch to subbing only due to health needs, a boy who'd been hell on wheels to every teacher the entire year came up and gave me a hug. This kid had a hard situation and would try everything in the book to get out of class, which was why he was my "partner" in class projects. I'd take as much time as we needed to get through a page, or his name, or just to stay in class without hiding. So, he hugged me as I left and said I was his favorite teacher because I never got mad, and I needed to come and sub his class (so he'd know I hadn't ditched him.) I held it together until he left, cried in the car, and you better believe I took every sub job to his classroom that year. Kid is finally in a better situation and I couldn't be happier.

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