Amazing Gifts From Amazing Students

This semester I decided to have all of my students do a Show & Tell. The Show & Tell could basically be about anything as long as it was about themselves. Their experiences, their passions, their failures and successes, and so on. So far, it’s been pretty remarkable.

I’ve had the wonderful privilege to learn so much more about my students through these presentations (even if there are a few who don’t actually prepare well enough). Over the past couple of years, I’ve definitely become closer to some students, but when you’re teaching at least 150 a semester, you’re not going to be able to get to know everyone.

The Show & Tell presentations have been about lots of interesting things, including rare Chinese stamp collections and old Mao-era meal tickets found in a grandparents’ attic. Some students have bravely talked about the experience of losing a parent. Even through the tears, they never quit. One student’s sister was sent to play basketball for China during her childhood, only returning home once a year for several years. A freshman talked about being twelve, alone, and depressed. Amazingly, she developed a system using a glass jar and coins to bring herself out of this debilitating condition. If she was feeling happy and like herself, she put a coin in the jar. If not, she took one out. In this way, she independently turned her life around. One student talked about being “black” (which is what they call brown skin here), and embracing the color of her skin, regardless of what other people may say or think about her appearance. I was especially touched by that last one!

Another wonderful benefit, which I never could have anticipated, is all the awesome gifts I’ve been receiving! Students have given me photo albums (which I wrote about before), souvenirs from their hometowns and travels, and even a personalized rubber stamp that my student made by herself! So cool!

I’m excited for the Show & Tell presentations to come! I’m even thinking about doing one myself, just for them.