Thanksgiving Day is tomorrow and that means most of my students have been missing in class this week, which is too bad as it was a good opportunity to catch up because there was no new work assigned. The good part was that I had an opportunity to really connect through video, my live office, and the phone with those who were working.
During one of those phone calls with a single dad and his daughter, I was surrounded, even on the phone, by the sheer joy in their relationship. They took turns talking to me, but I could hear the other in the background laughing or offering some tidbit to share with me. I must have smiled for an hour after that call; it was such a blessing.
We talked about life in a rural area and providing our Thanksgiving meal from the land around us. We share pear trees in common and so I told them about the pear pie I was making for our meal from the harvest of our trees and I heard, in turn, about their pecan harvest…pecan pie anyone?
It reminded me that reaching out to my students in a more personal way always engages them in the class content more. I don’t know how many subjects outside the “assignment parameters” I’ve approved this week, but the results have been some really creative work showcasing the exact same skills they needed to learn, but with their culture and their choices reflected. I am thankful for my students, plagiarists and all.