Saturday, December 13, 2008

A GOLD MEDALLION MOMENT... I Am Truly Stunned!




I have been here before. In fact I have been here before... many times over. It's the end of the quarter, and 91 dearly-loved students are moving on. Granted, some will be back next quarter, yet the unique and magical combination of students that makes up a class has disbanded. As always... I am almost rendered speechless.

This week I have been up at 1am almost every morning just grading and grading and grading. Their final projects have been superb showing both critical thinking and deep feeling. Their learnings bring tears to my eyes! Their take home finals, now completed, are a testimony to the profound changes that have taken place. I'm the facilitator and cheerleader...they do this courageous, college-level work.

Many students started the quarter not believing that they were capable. Most are leaving knowing that with showing up and doing the hard work that they can achieve their most treasured dreams!
They all have gifts, they just have to find them and then use them.

I am so honored to be a teacher, to be THEIR teacher! They will always be my students.
I am thrilled that this marathon, this Ironwoman-type event that we call "the end of the quarter" is almost over. The grades are in. Now I have to clean my room and get ready for next quarter.

In the midst of all of this chaos I started my every two year tenured-professor performance review with my new dean. I told her that I was born to do this. She agreed with me. God made me with a teacher's heart beating in me. I knew when I was in first grade that I wanted to be a teacher. Not for one moment in all these years have I doubted that this was the honored job I was created to do. I wasn't meant to just give students material to learn, I was there to also love them and believe in them. I'm their academic "advocate"!

Not only was this week about students leaving and meeting with my dean...something else happened that has left me stunned and amazed! A magic moment took place for me.

On Monday, right before my 8:30 class was about to start, I looked up to see Gary Johns, head of the Criminal Justice Program, standing at my door. Gary, being a police officer and teacher, looked solemn. However, he always looks solemn. So I went out in the hall to say "Hi!"...wondering what he had in mind and why he was there. This year, as always, I've had lots of law enforcement students, so I imagined he wanted to talk about one of them.

Oddly, Gary just kept looking at me...a bit awkward I might add. He then said, "I would like to shake your hand!" Ok, I'm thinking.. I have to start class and you pick this moment to shake my hand? However, Gary is my buddy and I love his students... so with a grin on my face I extended my hand into his. At that moment I felt a round-shaped object go into my hand. As I pulled my hand back I saw a gold medallion. Gary said, "This is what we give our top student in Criminal Justice. On the outside of the medallion it lists qualities we want our students to have...courage, commitment, integrity and honor."

He went on to say,"The Criminal Justice students and faculty voted who should get this medallion for 2008 and we voted for you to get it. You, Linda, embody all of these qualities and show them every day to our students." I was stunned then and now. Tears flowed. This "Gold Medallion Moment" that took place as I was about to say goodbye to my students...felt like it was God's way of saying to me..."Keep doing this! It matters!"

While I am bone-weary and beyond exhausted, I wouldn't trade my job as a teacher for anything, not anything!

So as fall quarter 2008 comes to a close, I am relieved and at the same time my heart is broken as I miss my students already. The gold medallion sits on the table by my coffee cup as a reminder of an amazing time in my life! I will treasure it forever!

Thanks for listening!

God Bless!
Love Linda

4 comments:

Kerri said...

Linda, thank you for your post! I just wrote on my blog earlier this week that I am tired and I'd read the verse about "don't grow weary of doing good!" I love being an educator and I'm learning the balance of it all but I wouldn't trade my profession for anything else, either! Congratulations on your Gold Medallion!

Tiffany said...

Wow! What an honor! Congrats, Linda! You truly deserve it! Hugs to you!

jessithompson said...

I'm so proud of you mom, and am thrilled that you felt honored and celebrated as this quarter draws to a close. You definitely deserve it - you give youir heart and soul to all of your students each and every quarter! Love you xoxo

Kim said...

Congratulations! What a special award for an amazing lady and more importantly somewhat so influential in the lives of her students.

XO
Kim

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