I must admit that very few people make me blush. Well, Mrs. Chili made me blush. I have dropped in on her classes a few times to chat, rant, scream, and/or make attempts at conveying a particular point of view. Though some might say my ego must have been inflated to read such awesome things, in truth, I was honestly humbled by her kind words. We have been friends now for years. Though we primarily talk academic stuff, on occasion we will discuss family, friends, and life in general. Last April I was asked to give a talk at some northern university to the Urban League on race, politics, and historical phenomena. While there, she and her husband Mr. Chili brought their two little Chilis to meet me for dinner; it was a cool meeting. She knows about my work, my teaching, my family, and a few of my goals. Below is a great post from her Blue Door blog I wanted to share here, at The Professor. As is the case with many teachers, we hear more bad than good. When I hear something great from a student, parent, or (distant) colleague and friend, I cherish it. Why? Because there are always tough teaching days ahead.
I Skyped Carson into one of my classes today to help me explain the destabilizing effects of decolonization to the kids, and this reminded me of how much I love the guy. Here, for your consideration, are ten reasons why Carson rocks:
1. He’s WICKED smaht. Seriously.
2. He’s articulate. I love having him come to my classes; listening to him speak clearly and eloquently about complicated topics is (at least, for me) a lot of geeky fun.
3. He’s accommodating. Never once has he told me “no” when I’ve asked him for help. This is the third time he’s consented to take time out of his busy life to spend an hour with students who are not his (and in a different time zone, even!). I feel like I could call on him for anything at any time and the answer would probably be “yes.”
4. He’s funny. He’s got a sense of humor that I totally get. This is a little surprising to me, given we grew up in very different regions with vastly different cultures.
5. He loves his discipline. Carson is, I think, a teacher first and an historian second, and I think that’s a big reason for my professional admiration. He cares so much about being a good teacher that he’s never stopped being a student himself. I think that’s something that he and I share.
6. He’s ethical. Part of that love of his discipline requires that he does his work to the very best of his abilities. It is plainly clear, whenever one sees this man in front of a class, that getting it right is important to him.
7. He’s ambitious. He knows what he wants and he’s doing what it takes to get there. Since part of what he wants is to land a gig at a boarding school that is fairly local to me, I’m all about supporting those efforts.
8. He’s not afraid to be who he really is, even in less-than-ideal environments. He’s a self-proclaimed, out of the closet liberal living in what he calls “the heart of Bush country” and working in a conservative Christian high school. His fortitude is much stronger than mine.
9. He inspires me. Every time – literally every time – I speak to him, I come away feeling like I could be so much better than I am. He publishes papers. He goes to conferences. He raises the level of discourse just by being in the room. There’s a post up on Teacher’s Education about how this latest encounter with my friend has re-focused my purpose at CHS; as I watched him explain today’s lesson to a sea of mostly-blank faces, I was reminded (again) of how much work is still to be done in terms of academic rigor and standards at my school (Carson, NONE of them knew what jingoism is. Sigh…).
10. He’s adorable. Truth be told, I have a kind of geeky crush on the man; he’s smart, funny, articulate, and handsome on top of all that. I love a man who makes me laugh and makes me think, and Carson does both.