“Professor G! OMG, it’s so great to see you! How are you?” said Frank a student who attended my ANT1001 course 3 years earlier.
“I’m great. Great to see you!”
“Thank you for you class. Everyone always asks me how I know so much and I tell them I learned it in Professor G’s class!!”
Frank failed my class. He was from a strict religious culture from Macedonia, if I remember his home country correctly. He had difficulty balancing his responsibilities to family, he picked his sister up after school everyday, and his need to get the piece of paper we tell all young people they must have to succeed in US.
I called Frank to my office mid semester about his frequent absences up til then. We had an intimate conversation about his religion and his life and he agreed that his presence mattered. He mattered. I made sure he knew that.
Thereafter, Frank never missed a class. But he wasn’t able to get his work done. But he sat attentively interested in our ever conversation.
I love Frank for this and I think he loves me.
What makes a student love a teacher that failed them. This is the state of higher education today. Some students get what they need but the system doesn’t really get who they are.
Frank changed my life.
Kyra Gaunt, Assoc Prof. of Baruch College-CUNY
I have experienced love all throughout my life. So it’s hard to say when the first time was… But i do have a new beginning in my life. and i was brought back to life with love. I laid in a hospital bed, scared and confused. My mother’s love was unbreakingly at my side, in my heart and all around me. Her ability to bring to me only strength and positivity when she must have been feeling so many other things… she is my teacher of love. Always has been, i suppose. And the nurses in my unit were incredible. Their love healed me as well. Maybe they didn’t love me, but they did their jobs out of love, i am sure of that. Love of care, love of healing, love of something… Because i had i.v.’s coming out of both arms, had needles sticking me 4 times a day, excruciating headaches, morphine in my veins, re-learning to walk, my muscles had atrophied past the point of recognition… and through all of this, I felt loved. The nurses that took care of me had my healing process down to a science. Two weeks i spent in the hospital and i never once doubted my care. A year and a half ago, at the age of 29, i had a brain hemorrhage in my left temporal lobe. I survived. And the first conscious experience i had was love.
Hanifah, your post this morning brought this story to mind so quickly and so vividly that I thought I’d share it with you.
Until I was about six, my father and I had a ritual of spending Saturday mornings in Central Park together. My mother was a student, and so our time out of the house gave her a chance to get her work done. He called them our “adventures”— we’d take the train from our tiny Lower East Side apartment and get out at the Park. Then he’d let me lead the way to whatever playground, statue or fountain called my fancy at the moment.
One morning deep in the summer, just before I turned six, my whim led us to the rowing pond in the middle of the Park. It was so hot, the sky so cloudless, that i can still remember the sting of the sun against my thighs. I also remember the unmixed sweetness of the frozen lemonade my father bought me to stave off the heat, and the pads of stickiness it left when spilled over my fingers, hands and legs. (I was a pretty messy eater as a kid, though that’s changed by now— mostly :) )
It lasted all of 5 minutes. When it was done, the tornado that blew through Brooklyn took with it what inviting green they reserved for postcards. Branches and leaves can be seen schrewn everywhere on the curbs and playgrounds the day after the “storm”. The most spectacular display of environmental death was in Elanor Rooselvelt Projects just up the block from me. (read more)