Thursday, November 28, 2013


The ten students who make me thankful

This face makes me a better teacher!

I am thankful for my students. 

1. The ones who give me their best "Oh my god teacher I am so bored I want to die" faces during class because they let me know that I need to try something new.
2. The ones that push me to the edge of my patience and make me a more patient person. Because, yes, for the thirtieth time, I do take late work, but I'll deduct points.
3. The ones that eagerly come to class ... some days I really need to see their smiling faces. Furthermore, while in class they work hard!
4. The ones that are utter terrors in the classroom only to be friendly and kind in the hallways. 
5. The ones that come to my office for extra help even when they don't need it.
6. The ones that come to my office for extra help because they know they need it.
7. The ones that get that look on their face when they fin
ally get a topic.
8. The ones that learn! 
9. The ones that don't! They are the ones that force me to reach into my bag of teaching tricks and try something new.

I am very thankful for them all, but this year I am especially thankful for one student.
He was very nervous when he started this semester. He had never taken an English course before, but they put him in the highest course of University English due to his TOEFL score. He was really nervous about keeping his athletic scholarship and keeping up in class.

We talked and he decided that he would stay in the class and try his hardest to manage. I insisted my door was always open. His writing wasn't the strongest, but he tried hard and it did improve.

In order to pass this class students must achieve a certain score on the TOEFL. The day before their final exam I received the TOEFL scores and this student did not pass. In fact his score went down. I was devastated. He was such a sweet student I hated to break the news to him.

Nonetheless, I was eager to send the e-mail that night so at the least he wouldn't need to get up early to take the exam. I let him know the bad news, but ended it by telling him he did not need to come in at 7am to take the final, so there was a silver lining.

His response broke my heart. The following is the gist though the emphasis is mine:

"I am very sad teacher, and I am sorry I let you down. I really enjoyed my semester with you.

If it is alright with you, I would still like to take the test with my classmates tomorrow. We started the semester together and I would like to finish it with them."

To end, with number 10. I am so grateful to have kind, genuine students in my life. Students who really feel the need to try hard and aren't afraid to make mistakes.

I am SO sorry this student felt he let me down (and I let him know that HE did not do ANYTHING wrong. The TOEFL PBT is not my favorite test for this purpose).

I am starting to ramble, so I will tie it all together. I am so thankful for the other teachers (online and in person) I interact with. Thank you for inviting me into your classrooms to learn from your lessons and students. Thank you for looking into my classes via my blog and lessons, and commenting to I can become a better teacher.

I am SO fortunate, and I bet you are too!

What are you thankful for?
All photos from this post are under a creative commons license 


  1. You are one of the happiest teachers! Hats off to You! Wish U more hard-working, bright and thankful students! Sincerely, Raniya

    1. Thank you so much Raniya! I promise you I am not always the happiest teacher. I get depressed, frustrated and irritated with my students sometimes. It is one reason I like blogging. I really get the chance to reflect and put a positive spin on things

  2. Beautiful, heartistic (can you say that in English? ;-) ) post....thank you Carissa! I teach English to children, I get inspiration and ideas from your blog. This article reminds me that when some children aren't following what I'm doing I need to find a more intriguing way to "deliver" it to them! thank you!!

    1. I think in English we would normally say heartfelt or heartwarming, but I am sure everyone understands heartistic :) It is easy to be thankful for the "good" students, but we also need to remember that the students who make us better teachers are often more of a challenge!


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