So today was our annual department awards ceremony, and I realized that in the 6 years I've been around, and 6 awards seasons, that I've had 2 students win the big award and like 4 win the "we love this student and this student is a pleasure to have in class" award, both cash prizes. And this year, I knew all but like 2 students who won the awards for the major (so like 5 of 7 awards or something). The point here is this: I attract smarties to me. And awesome students. Indeed, they cannot resist the Crazy.
Tragically, I was dressed like a homeless person today because I forgot it was the day of the awards ceremony. The good news is that BES's parents were there, and her dad was all, "I hope this isn't offensive, but how old are you anyway?" When I revealed that I'm 34, and that the question was actually complimentary in my book, he and her mom were all, "But you look like a student! We wouldn't guess you were over 25!" Once upon a time, this wouldn't have pleased me so much, but seriously: I now love being thought to look like a student.
So anyway, I have students who won book awards, a leadership award (one who gave me his poems to look at when he was a baby Freshman!), the outstanding senior writing award, the outstanding major award, and the "Miss Congeniality You're a Great Student to Have in Class" award. Now, on the one hand I will say that they are the ones who deserve the props for having won these. On the other, dude, there's a reason why my students are the big winners. It's because I attract the smarties to me and I help to make them outstanding.
I'm so proud of them all. They are all so freaking awesome. And the fact of the matter is, these students are as awesome as any student at an elite slac or at a fancy R1. They just don't have the histories that would have gotten them there. And no, I don't believe that choosing a CC for the first two years and then transferring to a fancy place would have insured some sort of brighter future for them. So when people talk about how institutions like mine are "doomed," well, I say to those people, you don't know what an institution like mine can do for students who would do just as well at fancier establishments, but who didn't have the guidance, support, or money to get there. My students rock, y'all. Maybe not all of them, but having taught at an R1 as a grad student, I can say with all confidence that not all of them rocked either.
I am so, so proud. Both of them, and of the teacher that I've been to them. And god, I'm going to cry my eyes out at graduation this year. I'm so happy for them, and so sad to see them go (for me).
5 years ago