I’m thankful for the students who are on-time and have all their work done, every time, because I can depend on them to help move a discussion along.
I’m thankful for the students who are late and don’t have their work done, because at least they are making the effort to come to class.
I’m thankful for the really strong writers, whose work I can comment on about content and offer new perspectives for them to consider, because they keep my job interesting.
I’m thankful for the okay writers, who are doing enough to get by, because they keep my job interesting.
I’m thankful for the struggling writers, who are trying their hardest to pass the class, because they remind me to try as hard to help them as they’re willing to help themselves.
I’m thankful for the students who are good in small groups, because they keep the student-centered classroom going.
I’m thankful for the student who was so shy that she laughed nervously the entire time I made her do a small group discussion (2 minutes is a long time to “hold the floor”), because she reminds me that it’s not easy to do all these student-led-learning tasks!
I’m thankful for the student who follows all the directions about where to submit work, because they make my life a little bit easier when I don’t have to track down their homework.
I’m thankful for the student who manages to turn in their work late, by email, because they remind me to be human is to err, and that I need to have compassion.
I’m thankful for the student who knows she should drop my class when she’s failing, because it is hard to give people a 0.0 when they attend the whole term.
I’m thankful for the student who wants to stay in my class and try when she knows she’s failing, because I respect her choice to stick it out and get something out of it this time around.
I’m thankful for the student who came to me and asked me to help her catch up after she got behind, because it reminded me never to give up on anyone.
I’m thankful for the honors students who go above and beyond in my classes to get honors credit, because they are trying to reach higher and it makes teaching fun.
I’m thankful for the non-honors students who struggle with the material and try to make it all make sense to them, because they bring new perspectives to the room and they make me really evaluate how and why my subject is important to everyone.
I’m thankful for the students who think like I do, because it is really easy to help them understand new things.
I’m thankful for the students who do not think like I do, because they broaden my mind and help me understand new things, making me a better teacher.
I’m thankful for the students who are very young, because they show all of us a taste of what the fifteen year old mind can do when we might otherwise dismiss youth.
I’m thankful for the students who are sizing me up, trying to figure out whether they’re older or I am, because we both come to the realization that that doesn’t matter, and that we each have something to teach the other.
Most of all, I’m thankful for all of the students I encounter, seasoned students and those who are stepping into a classroom for the first time in years–sometimes for the first time since I was a small child–because the reason I became a teacher was to help students. I appreciate the chance to witness firsthand their dedication, their struggles, their triumphs, and their failures–and I love to see them make it through, in the end.