Copyright © Louis Schmier and Atwood Publishing.

Date: Mon, 20 Dec 1999 11:48:46 -0500 (EST)
Random Thought: A Christmas Card

I just received a message from Melinda. Very few of you know about Melinda. She had been in one my classes as I had begun my journey from professor to teacher. I had shared the story of her transformation in a Random Thought almost six years ago to the day. She and I have remained close friends. She had transferred to the University of Georgia and had graduated as an education major, and I have been something of a distance mentor to her. She is now a caring teacher in a Massachusettes school system. She is so excited. And I am so happy for her. All term she had worked with a struggling student to succeed. She had devoted many after school session to helping him focus, never let him go unnoticed, constantly encouraged him when he faltered, constantly applauded him when he didn't, and always reminded him that he is capable. She found ways to keep this student's hope alive, to work for his transformation, to believe that change was possible. She just received a Christmas card in which the student had written, "Thanks for giving me a second chance." She ended her message with a teary, breath-catching and spine-tingling "wow!"

I told her to preserve that card as a sacred object of her teaching, to place that student at the beginning of a career long "hope list" detailing changes in students. More important, I told her to keep it as a constant reminder of the lesson she was just taught, a lesson we all should learn well, without which there would be no "hope list:":

             There is a joyous music of teaching.  Teach with 
             its special rhythm, with its special tempo:  the 
             heartbeat of the student.

Let me and Susan take this opportunity to wish all of you a joyous holiday season and the best for the coming "almost" millenium.

Make it a good day. 


Louis Schmier           
Department of History    
Valdosta State University
Valdosta, GA  31698                        /~\    /\ /\
912-333-5947                       /^\    /   \  /  /~ \     /~\__/\
                                  /   \__/     \/  /     /\ /~      \
                            /\/\-/ /^\___\______\_______/__/_______/^\
                          -_~     /  "If you want to climb mountains, \ /^\
                             _ _ /      don't practice on mole hills" -\____

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