The Best Part of Teaching: Getting to Know Great Students


Above: Shelby, Zee, Carson, and Hannah

When it comes to teaching, I do have a pretty nice thing; I get to teach bright interesting students who are diverse in their thinking and activities; I get to pontificate my passion for history and ideas, while engaging in conversations about their view of my historical interpretation. I spent one afternoon last week with Dillon Sorensen at the Onion Creek talking about academic stuff and politics; I got to spend today at the Onion Creek with three of my favorite students discussing college, movies, HCHS, me, and religion. They know I am pretty flexible when it comes to engaging in an interesting conversation about an array of topics; it was my meeting with Katrina Ong this summer in which she stated that she enjoyed conversations with teachers outside of the traditional realm of campus; one learns at times a great deal about ideas and life in a laid back environment. She is right. I never say no when a student or students invite me out for a meal or coffee.

7 thoughts on “The Best Part of Teaching: Getting to Know Great Students

  1. Carson, I’m not raining on the parade (honest, I’m not!) but isn’t seeing students outside of school kind of risky in these litigious times? Some of the things my advisor told me during my internship included such nuggets as “never let yourself be alone in a room with a student while the door is closed” and “never, EVER, drive a student anywhere.” While I’m less concerned about meeting MY students outside of the classroom – they’re legally adults and can make those kinds of choices without another’s consideration – I would be hesitant to engage in that kind of intimacy with high school students.

    While I’m being all negative and wet-blanket, I might as well jump over into inappropriate while I’m at it, right? I mean, let’s cover ALL the bases; You’re some kind of cute, you know that?

  2. No….You make a great point in this day and age; I think the key is making a good choice in the most appropriate way. Groups are always better than one; I am lucky in that students on my campus are used to such relationships with faculty members. Meeting in homes, at youth group meetings, study groups, etc is more of the norm than the exception. Due to our size and the expectations set, faculty-student gatherings are normal. But trust me, I do see your point. The key is to be professional yet look to know students and to listen. This has always been the norm; I am not sure I know anything else. Thanks for the “cute” kind words. This will be one of many topics we converse about this summer: Students and their work.

  3. Hey…I was at Onion Creek last night! Did this group of students have to reschedule with you twice to make this gathering happen?

    Anyway, Mrs. Chili brings up a great point. However, I agree with Carson – at our school, I do not think this a problem. Plus, most of the students Carson teachers are 17 or 18 years old and can make smart decisions. But, it is never a bad idea to take necessary precautions; such as meeting students in public places, etc.

  4. Dillon: He reschedules with you as well? I feel much better. I know he really likes you. It has been what, Carson, 4 months? You are always too busy for this poor distant colleague.
    I teach in a school that does not share such great teacher and student relationships. We are just too big. Our students are at a disservice unless they seek teachers to know.

  5. Carson’s right Mrs. Chili. I didn’t grow up in the school where he teaches now, but I grew up at a similar school in Little Rock and it really was the norm to head to teachers’ homes and see them outside of class. In fact, I really think that’s part of the reason why our parents sent us to that school. I think they enjoyed having personal relationships with their kids’ teachers and I think they enjoyed knowing that their kids had positive role models, particularly during those rough teenage years when you think your parents are utter morons. In fact, I’m still friends, as is evident by my appearance on this blog, with several of my former high school teachers.

  6. Carson, you need to stop by Onion Creek on April 11th at 7:00 PM so you can engage in my graduation celebrations. I think next year when I come home to visit from college, we will have to meet up here and discuss lots of history!

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