Day 3:  I give thanks for the gift of teaching

I had an email this morning from a former student that began, “Hi, my favorite and most inspirational professor…” Of course this gets your attention. This particular student has taken four classes from me at Mesa College. After all the work I have demanded from him, I’m honored that he still wants to even talk to me let alone finds me to be inspirational. I don’t apologize for the fact that I am not the easiest professor on the block. I understand that I’m not teaching the next generation of surgeons how to reattach an arm — hospitality and event management is slightly easier than that — but I would argue until I am blue in the face that the work we do does make a difference. I demand a lot of my students because I believe if I do my job well, they will one day become my colleagues in this industry. They moan at the number of tests I give, the grumble over the demands of the projects I assign and they squirm when I make them engage with not only me but with their classmates. To help them to be anything less than prepared would be a disservice. To have the opportunity to teach the next generation is a true gift and I don’t take the honor lightly.

For 14 weeks, these students commit to coming to class, studying hard and to meet the demands I set forth. Their effort deserves the best of who I am. This semester I have not been teaching at Mesa and I realize that I really miss the student interaction. I enjoy the challenge of converting those that don’t believe they have a place in the hospitality industry into cheerleaders for the cause. I delight in the students that are confident that they want to make their way with a job in events, hotels and/or tourism. I smile when the students tell me I was the hardest teacher they ever had but the one they learned the most from. That’s an unbelievable compliment.

Teaching is in my soul. I am blessed that I have the opportunity to help shape the journey so many students will take in their lives. The email I received today ended by saying: “Thank you for encouraging and believing in me. I love you more than you’ll ever know..”  As a teacher, you never know who you will touch but today I am truly touched by this student’s kind words. This is truly a moment to give thanks.

January can’t come soon enough so I can get back into the classroom having the best job on the planet!