While I am excited about my new job, what Brooks Black Student Union did in wishing me off was just great. Our annual cookout today was emotional. Brooks students of color have been very good to me and to each other, and I have enjoyed them during my 5 year tenure at Brooks. It is important that people of color support each other. Thank you BSU, Alianza Latina, and Shaunielle for a great day.
Dear Houston Christian students, the number of letters I have received in the mail this summer from you, my former students, is unreal. The emails and private messages are so comprehensible and thoughtful. In checking my mail today and reading what another former student wrote is humbling. Hey students from Houston Christian –thank you. It means the world to read your thoughts and appreciation for our time together. To see and read about what you are doing or about to do now that many of you are out of college motivates me. Having you share your freedom to be you is gratifying. Some of you are now able to live in your identity: gay, lesbian, transgender, etc. Others are motivated to use your faith to do what is right for others. For some, our beliefs in religion and many other things are so vastly different, and yet reading your thoughtful notes is profound. I am really moved by you. I am glad we were able to spend time together…in and out of the classroom. Please know that I keep a rainy day file in my office. I have kept everything. Some of you have traveled to stay with me, dine and drink with me, and yes, continue to make fun of me. There are so many graduating classes I admire. In the end — I admire all of you. I hate weddings and rarely attend them, but I will be honored if you desire to travel to yours as I have done in the past. Having you dedicate your thesis to me and ask me to be in your wedding has been an honor. You are loved and missed.
I am joined by a great group of students who are social justice warriors. We have spent the past few weeks engaged in activities and discussions centered around eradicating all of the isms. This past Friday night they put their work on display during the Brooks Symposium.
After my last Saturday class was dismissed, I was in a great conversation with a student; he asked: what is a bad learning situation for a student? I stated being in a place that is insular and/or does not allow one to engage in diverse conversations with a number of people. It is hard to expand the mind in such a stagnant setting. He then asked: what is the best? I stated being in a place with diverse students and teachers. Ideally, a perfect place would have gay/lesbian teachers; black, white, Hispanic, and Asian teachers; Christian, Muslim, atheist, and others. The greater the perspective, the more intense the learning. This is a perfect setting.
Lerin Rutherford, my former student and our Valedictorian at Houston Christian, acknowledging me in her bound thesis from Davidson College. This is why I do this. This image will go in my book one day on being a master history teacher. Lerin is currently in her second year at Baylor College of Medicine. We shared a number of great outings together — wine, very late dinners, coffee, you name it. And in doing so, I loved my conversations with her. Click on the images below.
Okay. I must confess. I absolutely love the students that I teach. They mean the world to me. The class of 2013 is a personal favorite of mine. I have grown so much in my relationship with them. I am honored to be their speaker at commencement. I am honored to be called TEACHER by them. The two videos below made me smile and yes, cry a bit. What a great group. I will miss so many of them.
Below my students making fun of me:
I do use mucho too much.
I can honestly say I love my students. They are loyal and hard-core. Sure, they are a bit nerdy — but that is cool these days. Kelsey Deberry emails me a picture of her election night. If I could offer one piece of advice to underclassmen — it would be this: Take a Carson class. You have not experienced anything until you have sat around that table and conversed with madness. Oh, my students are texting, emailing, calling, and face booking me.