Thanksgiving is the only holiday in the year that I celebrate without any qualifications. What else can I possibly say but Thank You for so much that has been given to me in abundance?
This year I’ve been thinking particularly about how much my students gave to me during my university teaching years.
They were, first of all, challenging.
I’m sure they had little idea how much reading I did to address the questions they were asking. And how exhilarating I found it.
I also often tried to put them in contact with their own gifts, talents and abilities that many of them did not realize they had. And once in a while one of them would come back and tell me I’d changed their lives. Or that I was the best teacher they’d ever had. Or some other act of appreciation that was way beyond what I deserved.
So getting up at 6:30 am to review my lecture material, or reading hundreds of student papers to give them detailed feedback, was repaid a thousand times over.
I will admit that I always seemed to appreciate the joys of teaching more during the summer break than during the bleak cold winter.
But seriously, being a university professor ranks as one of the greatest joys of my life.
And I don’t think I have ever so much as said a single thank you to those students who gave me so much. I suspect it’s a little too late now. But I do know on this Thanksgiving that I have been given far more than I ever earned.