I love January, even though it gets cold and wet where I live. The reason why is that I love seeing my students return after their winter break. Their eager faces and eager minds are inspirational.
Of course there are lots of reasons to be cynical about higher education. The statistics show that education is becoming more expensive and less effective. Apparently, contemporary students are less motivated than their parents. Their writing skills are supposed to be worse too.
But at the same time when I meet my new students each January, it all comes flooding back to me. I remember why I went into teaching and what makes me so happy about making a difference for a young person. I look at their faces and I vow to do my best – to be witty, insightful, and a fun-loving professor.
Part of what excites me is the freshness of it all. The students have a fresh perspective on life, a fresh opportunity, a fresh love of life and learning. And the opportunity to make that freshness a living, embodied reality is what excites me.
So come on back, students. Come on back from the wide world which has beaten down so many of you. Come on back into the classroom where life and learning can be such a vivid experience. As your professor I promise that I will do my best to love and cherish you, and to make your time in the classroom an exploration of life to its fullest extent. I love each one of you and I cannot wait to show that by imparting the vividness of life to you in the classroom.