Monday, January 23, 2012

Student Thank-You Note With Sketch


A student´╗┐ from this past winter session of 2011-2012 left an impressive thank-you note in my mailbox on Thursday after the final exam:
Professor Hodges,

I just wanted to thank you for teaching me this winter semester. I really enjoyed every class and appreciate it.

Also, have a nice [lunar] new year holiday! I drew a magpie 'specially for you. In Korea, magpies are believed to bring good luck, so I hope this drawing leads you to lots of happy moments!

Thank you again for the class, and happy 2012.

- from Chaewon -

That's a nice note, and an astonishingly delicate sketch of a magpie! The beak appears more hooked than on any magpie I've ever seen, but I've not seen all varieties of this bird, which apparently (for what it's worth) is classified according to two different families, Corvidae and Artamidae.

As for why the course was so much fun . . . I can't pin down precisely. But one thing that I did differently this go-around in the course was to dedicate more class time to essay writing. I had the students re-write their essays in class and pair up with peer-partners to assist in proofreading their work. This also gave me time to offer individual advice on essays, and I could see that my students appreciated that.

I also took some time off from arduous classwork to teach them some songs -- "Fan It," "That's How I Got My Start," and "Green-Eyed Lady" -- which they seemed to enjoy greatly. One student even told me that the song "Fan It" had been running through her head all weekend, and she meant that as a compliment. She later told me that she had "loved this class."

These are the best remarks that I've received thus far in my experience as a teacher, so I must be doing something right after all this time. Like Thomas Pynchon, I'm a slow learner.

Anyway, if I do receive the good luck wished for me by Chaewon, I hope that the good fortune is concentrated upon my teaching, that I will continue to improve as a good teacher . . .

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At 7:11 AM, Blogger Kevin Kim said...

Did you sing those songs in class for the students?

At 7:23 AM, Blogger Horace Jeffery Hodges said...

We sang all three. I found a video only for "Green-Eyed Lady." The first two, I had to sing without benefit of music, but that went okay. I handed out the words and sang with the students.

Jeffery Hodges

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