Tuesday, February 18, 2014

February 18: Former Students, Half Gone, Making a Difference

I've taught many students in my university career.  Doing the math, over my almost twenty years in the classroom, I've passed or failed well over a thousand people.  I've been a professor for so long that the principal of my son's elementary school is a former student of mine.

Normally, I have students for four short months, and then they're gone.   Usually, I never see them again.  I don't know if they end up addicted to crystal meth or elected to Congress.  I have no idea whether I've had any effect on their lives.

Charlotte knows she doesn't have very long to save Wilbur's life.  A few months at the most.  Once the weather turns cold, Zuckerman's thoughts will turn to smoked ham and bacon.  She has to work fast:

"That's a mercy," replied Wilbur, and he lay down in the shade of his fence and went fast asleep.  The spider, however, stayed wide awake, gazing affectionately at him and making plans for his future.  Summer was half gone.  She knew she didn't have much time.

Charlotte never really sees the results of her plan to save Wilbur.  She's not around to see her friend grow old in the Zuckerman barn.

This afternoon, I met a former student.  Actually, the former student recognized me and called out, "Is that Professor Martin?"  I turned toward him and said, "Yes, that's me."  The man stood up and shook my hand. 

"Man, I want to thank you," he said.  "I was in your technical writing class a long time ago."  He looked at the person who was sitting at the computer in front of him.  "He's the reason I have a job," he told her.  "That resume I wrote in your class was perfect, man.  My boss was so impressed by it."

"Well, it's good to hear I didn't screw up too badly," I joked.

My former student shook his head.  "I write reports and memos all the time.  My boss loves my work.  And it's because of what I learned from you."

It was a good moment.  I felt like Charlotte when she realizes Wilbur is going to live to see the snows of Christmas.

Saint Marty made a difference in a student's life.

No bacon for Zuckerman, thanks to Charlotte

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