Barbara Bradley Hagerty had a commentary on NPR last night about one of her professors who recently died, and her acquaintance with him over the years after she graduated. Fred Stocking was a legendary Shakespeare scholar at Williams College; he died in July at the age of 94, 29 years after his retirement. Just listen, or read here. Pass the tissues!
Most of our students don’t care that much about our classes–and that’s probably the natural order of things. But you never know how or why you might be important to a student. This commentary is a really nice illustration of why it’s important to care about doing our jobs well, and to be alert to that shy student at the back of the room who hangs out around to eavesdrop on other students’ questions after class, or to the student who affects diffidence in class but whose papers show real insight and effort. As many commenters noted yesterday–you never know who you might inspire or what a student might do with what you’ve given hir.