Last Day Ritual

Another semester is over. My students' blazers and mine are going to the cleaners. 
This leaves me two conflicting feelings as I work on final grades: relief and pain. While majority will sail through, some will not.

As a part-time, twice-a-week college teacher (tutor is how our school calls us), I only get to interact with my students during class hours. So I take time to talk to each one on the last day—a personal ritual I have observed over a few years. It is tedious and tiring, but the desire to do it overpowers every discomfort.

In these talks, I assess their major course works and tell them their strengths, silently praying they would be encouraged to fight the battles of college life, and eventually, the global workplace for which our transnational university is gearing and arming them.

They share their backstories, personal issues, and how they are coping. Some are icy, wearing that I-could-not-care-less air in the beginning, but thawing in the end. These talks convince me that all of us have an issue and are just waiting for an ear willing to listen.  

The time for each student is no longer than 10 minutes, but I find these exchanges enriching for both teacher and student. My own should’ves, could’ves, and would’ves are put to rest.

I am deep in conversation with one of them when three students, who have already had their 10 minutes, hover behind me. “Yes?” I ask.

“Miss, may we give you a hug?” one says, beaming. 

I stand up quickly to take the offer, and I am rewarded with three warm hugs.

People say teaching is not just a career, it is a calling and a work of art. I think it is more than that: it is grace.

It is life-changing nourishment for this Tutor, coursed through her students.

“Let my teaching fall on you like rain; let my speech settle like dew. Let my words fall like rain on tender grass, like gentle showers on young plants.” Deuteronomy 32:2 (NLT)

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