This morning I had 7 undergrads in my office, sitting at my feet (yes, literally sitting at my feet since there aren’t enough chairs to go around). I sat at my desk chair (which is has a high back and is remarkably plush and throne-like) as I gave them each advice on their upcoming group presentation.
We talked about the chapters that they needed to cover and I made some suggestions about teaching strategies. They impressed me with their preparedness and their enthusiasm. Such cute, clean, young girls (I have very few boys in my class, and none at this particular meeting). All aspiring teachers of K-12 students.
What I wanted to tell them, but I didn’t/couldn’t is that I want to give them all A’s. I want to write them all positive evaluations, to tell them that they are wonderful and eager and they will go far in their lives.
After reflecting on my morning, I realized that the job I would really like is one where I would be paid to tell people good things about themselves. To be a cheerleader. To applaud, support, and love them. I’ve been told that I’m too nice as a TA—I tend to grade students too generously and I care more about _them_ than about their assignments. But honestly, people (even 19 year-olds) are so amazing. Their stories are so compelling. Their efforts are so worthwhile. And undergrads are so very young. Maybe it’s just the mother in me that wants to smile at them and tell them how beautiful they are, instead of giving them arbitrary grades according to a heartless rubric.