Saturday, November 21, 2015


As you celebrate the holiday with family and friends, I hope that you have much to give thanks for. In the spirit of the season, this pre-Thanksgiving blog asks you to pause a minute and think why you are thankful to be working with the students you teach here at Lincoln.

I know that we more often talk about what we are unhappy with--what Lincoln doesn't do, what our students don't do-- and there is merit in that, since until problems are defined they cannot be solved.  But just for now, let's focus on the positive: what makes you most thankful as you think about your teaching experiences?

My answer, I guess, would be that I am grateful that I almost always leave my classroom and my  students with more energy than I had when I entered, having been challenged,  impressed, confused, enlightened, surprised, confronted, affirmed... the list could go on and on. It's a never-ending learning experience for me, and--frustrating as it can be at times-- it's fun.

Happy Thanksgiving, and may you all, as the Native American saying goes, "give thanks for unknown blessings already on their way."


  1. I am thankful for the former student who randomly passes by my classroom, stops, and thanks me for my class many semesters ago.

    I am thankful for the students who share their learning experience at Lincoln University and my courses:
    As I learn from you,
    I guess you learn from me---

    I am thankful for colleagues, such as Linda Stine, who engage, challenge, and inspire me to keep walking down the academic path to create a rich learning environment for the students and me to interact.

  2. A happy Thanksgiving to everyone, friends and foes alike! I assume I have none: friend or foe; though I do have many nice colleagues and coworkers, and I am thankful for each one of them!

    I am thankful that I have not been fired; at least, not yet! I am also thankful for having students to teach; including those who complain that my quizzes and exams are too difficult as well as the one who insulted me yesterday and promised to report me to my chairperson for (my) not allowing her to makeup an extra-credit assignment that she missed because she came in late and walked out of class after 14 minutes without finding out what we were doing or about to do. It is nice to have students, whatever or whomever they are. If nothing else, they provide job security. They do, in fact, more than that!

    Happy Thanksgiving!

    Safro Kwame

    1. A student came to my class after being absent for several days, arriving a few minutes late into the class. Looked at the board -after seeing the formula for solving roots of quadratic equations; started yelling at me: “This is supposed to be a computer class, not math! “ I said to the class “That is it-I quit” and immediately left the classroom and went to the department and said to the secretary that I resign. The secretary kindly was trying to console me as I heard another kind voice behind me, that of another student in that class. “Mr. B, please come back to class, you cannot quit.” After some hesitation, I went back to the class. To my surprise, the other students were still there and started clapping as I arrived.

      That was over 25 years ago. I am most grateful and thankful that I did not quit and for the encouragement I received from the rest of students and our secretary. However, I never again saw that student who was upset. In some ways there was no difference between me and that student. I realize now that at the time I wanted to quit for other reasons and was just looking for an opportunity or an excuse to do so. However, I was encouraged to continue. That student also deserved encouragement to continue- I wish I had not left the classroom. I am thankful that in spite of being such a mediocre teacher, I have being given the opportunity to be listened to by so many students for so many years. I am particularly thankful to Safro for always giving his feedback on this blog despite sometimes topics being controversial to deal with.

      Have a great Thanksgiving!

      Ali B.

    2. Wow! What an inspirational story! Happy Thanksgiving, Ali!

      Safro Kwame