When mistakes don't matter

On the edge of the end of the semester, I am fully in a place where I'm celebrating what students are achieving rather than noting their mistakes, weaknesses, challenges, or whatever neutralish term I assign to the things I focus on that fall short of my assignment. Despite the hurried aspect of trying to get done, the end of the semester is when I enjoy reading their assignments, watching their presentations, and learning exactly what they have learned.

Mistakes don't matter when the literary magazine class has given me and my colleague, their project managers, as we prefer to refer to ourselves, the title in the masthead as Editor & Chief. We kind of like our new sense of selves, and thus, in future literary magazine classes, I imagine that Paul and I will introduce ourselves as the editor and chief. A pun is born that will carry forward.

At times I believe I should record myself at the end of the semester, a reminder that when I grow tired and a wee bit jaded (which fortunately is not often), I need to remember to celebrate student successes. Because it is during those moments that I am so grateful for the cool ass job I have.

At the end of the semester, I finally allow myself time to reflect, even if I profess I am so stressed because I have no time. It's like I can't help that voice inside that sees the rest ahead, that knows that I have worked so hard and am ready to just shake it all off, that voice that keeps reminding me of all the wonders I have experienced this semester.

  • I had a student I've known for a couple of years come out to me as trans, watching his face feel finally complete and relieved at being able to take a step into the body and being he sees himself as.
  • I watched a group of students who have spent most of the year hanging out in the GLBT Resource Center, shooting the shit, talking some nasty sometimes, laughing, hugging each other every day when they leave and sometimes enter, articulately convey to the school's President and Vice President of Student Success their needs regarding a new GLBT Resource Center. They were passionate, approachable, genuine, and made an impression--on the administrators They left their impression lingering on me.
  • I stood in front of a literary magazine class with my colleague and told the students at the start of the semester that in 15 or so weeks, they would produce a literary magazine from start to finish. When we broke down all the work, they looked daunted, not believing this could be. When they opened the boxes of the printed journals yesterday, they looked so proud at what they had accomplished, as a team, on their own. Tomorrow we celebrate with a publication party and an open mic.
  • And I anticipate tomorrow, when I get to watch groups of students put on dramatic presentations of plays they've remixed, showing me through their scripts and performance that they understand elements of drama, celebrating all their learning. Not paying attention to any mistakes.


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