Last night my colleague (work-husband 'cause we spend so much time together -- his wife and I call each other "sister-wife") and I received an "Improvement of Instruction" award for the class we created for this year. It is a combination History / Literature class. Students use literature (mostly primary sources and some fiction and poetry) to learn American history. We couple this with four site visits over the semester -- including a three or four day to a significant site. This past fall we went to Williamsburg for four days; this spring it was Washington, DC.
The class has rocked my world. I minored in history, so it is all good to me. And, frankly, I have been thinking of leaving the teaching game for a while. I don't have the patience with the politics any longer. But, that being said, we have both been re-energized and excited about the class and so have our students.
The best moment all year?? When a very very very shy young man stood up before the same class he couldn't tell his name to three months earlier and told them that his life and his children's lives (when he marries and has 'em) will be different from the class. That is why I teach. No politics can take away those crystal moments when you know without a doubt something you did mattered. Not in finding a cure for cancer matter. But, matters in a more remarkable way. It will ripple. And, it will keep on rippling for all time.