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10 July 2011

The Invisible Instructor

Last night, I had a chance to hang out with a colleague, her husband, and two of our students--one outgoing, one current--for what the students affectionately called Take-Your-Professor-to-the-Bar Night. Today, I got a nice text message from my colleague reminding me that for every ten nightmarish students that make one want to throw her hands up and exit the academe, there is the one with whom her relationship is so rewarding as to keep her coming back for more. Both of these students happen to fit that description. Last night, these exemplary students paid me an unexpected compliment. They told me that I was the most objective professor they had ever had. In fact, they added, if not for getting to know me outside of the classroom, they wouldn't have been able to know where I stood (socio-)politically. I was actually quite shocked to hear this as I was confident that my unapologetically radical leanings were patently obvious, even though I am quite conscious at least in the attempt to hide them. Neither student had me for my introduction to sociology course, which I imagine is a place where my ideology becomes much more evident; nonetheless, it was very nice to hear.

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