One of the frustrations of teaching is not having a chance to see the final product. Teachers are left to wonder whether the work they do and the time spent with students really makes a difference. I am sometimes envious of other occupations; for instance construction workers see a finished product and even doctors have some sense of completion one way or the other. Perhaps our inability to see how it all turns out is balanced by the fact that my profession allows the individual to reinvent oneself every September. We get a fresh start every Fall.
Anyway, yesterday afternoon I was sitting in my office when my phone rang. It turned out to be one of my favorite students who graduated last year and is now attending college in New York City. [Background: I am a huge Seinfeld fan and my students know this all too well by the middle of the year.] She was walking out of one of the new soup stands started by the actor who plays the Soup Nazi when she apparently thought of me. I was tickled that she thought to call me at just this moment. We talked for a bit and it was nice to know that everything is going well, but before she hung up she worked herself into the best Soup Nazi voice and said: “NO SOUP FOR YOU!”
Yes, I guess I would have preferred to have a student call to let me know of a decision to become a historian, but I will take this any day.