Both this school year and last, I taught Section 6 of TE 401 and TE 402 at MSU. These are the social studies and literacy methods courses for the MSU seniors. The courses are not a year-long sequence with instructors usually. The students are together all year, but the instructors don’t usually stay with the students the whole year. I’m one of the few people who teach both social studies and literacy, so I do get to meet these students on the 1st day of the fall semester and see them through until their graduation. Both years I have been assigned Section 6, which seems to be my lucky number.
Both years, I’ve had the pleasure of teaching some amazing people in Section 6. They’re fun, inspiring, smart, and dedicated students. At this stage in their careers, so early on, they are excited about joining the field of education. Let me tell you that it is so rare these days to have people excited about teaching anymore. I want to bottle their energy, enthusiasm, and excitement and feed it to a lot of people I know. It would be some magic elixir that teachers could drink when they feel frustrated or burned out. I would make a killing if I sold it.
I started my blog with a picture of the students of Section 6 from 2011-2012. They lit the spark for my dissertation and reaffirmed that teaching and research is what I wanted to do for my career. They inspired me to start the Year of Writing. This year’s Section 6 helped me in a different way. If last year’s Section 6 was the spark, this year’s group was the fuel. They kept me going when I was collecting data–it was great to be able to commiserate with them about teaching elementary school and share stories. When I spent day after day in my house writing, seeing them on Tuesdays was a wonderful break. When I finished writing, I could not wait to tell them.
Today was our final exam. Much like the 2012 Section 6, the 2013 group handed out awards. I won “Best Dressed” mostly because I’m usually the only one not wearing my pajamas in class, and “Best Laugh.” This means they probably heard me laugh a lot. They dressed in their graduation gowns and we took pictures at Erickson Hall. It was the last class I will ever teach at MSU.
Yes, Section 6 has been very lucky for me. On Sunday, I am actually going to hand them their diplomas on stage at the Breslin. Two of my students are giving the commencement speech based on a poetry-writing assignment I gave them this semester. Another one is being honored for the highest GPA in the special education program. The chair of the TE department is letting doctoral students attend as “faculty” to honor the seniors they’ve worked with all year. I absolutely wouldn’t miss it.
2013 Section 6 flashing our sign