I heard some great news this week: one of my seniors was accepted into his/her #1 choice university. (S)he has worked so hard toward this goal and is thrilled to finally have the acceptance letter in hand!
But for me, the news is somewhat bittersweet.
Helping My Students
Back in November, the day before Thanksgiving Break, numerous seniors anxiously sought me out. “Mrs. G! Would you read my college application essay?” Since this is my first year of teaching seniors, I was flattered.
When they told me that they needed my suggestions back the day after Thanksgiving, though, I almost said, “No can do.” The weekend prior to TDay, I was traveling. Monday and Tuesday, I was not only attending the California Association of Private Schools Association Convention but presenting four separate seminars. Wednesday and Thursday were family days.
But, like I said, I was flattered. So, I promised to have their essays e-mailed back to them, with suggestions in Track Changes, by early Friday morning.
I survived (and enjoyed!) CAPSO. I survived (and survived!) Thanksgiving cooking and Day. And for the full 9-hour drive home, I did nothing (and I do mean nothing!) but read and respond to student college application essays.
I really got into each one. As these essays are quite personal, I had a blast getting to know each student better. And since I teach English IV and AP English Literature and Composition, I already knew each student’s writing strengths and weaknesses. So I was able to make lots of specific suggestions for improvement.
The deadline was so close, I’ll readily admit that I focused almost entirely improving weaknesses. I didn’t have time for flattery, although I tried to make genuinely supportive comments where warranted.
We arrived home exhausted at 11:45 PM. Before collapsing in bed, I e-mailed my students their essays so they’d have them first thing in the morning.
Waiting for Thank You
And then I waited.
And I’m still waiting.
One thing I’ve learned is how much I value — dare I confess, need? — two simple words: Thank You.
From even one of them.