Monday 18 June 2012


After several years of teaching a class of students, I feel compelled to give them something to remember me by; something they can take with them on their next step. Last year I had a really small A2 class, so I bought them all a copy of Do We Need Pandas?. This year's cohort is nearly twice the size, and it was clear I couldn't stretch to buying books for everyone.

So I've gone with something much more personal, but significantly cheaper. Still, it is most definitely the thought that counts in this case (I nearly made the Chemistry lab technician cry when she saw what I was doing). I've found quotes for each of my students, printed them and framed them:

This is what I've found for each of them.

The student whose devotion to their daughter has been a delight to watch:
If a child is to keep alive his inborn sense of wonder, he needs the companionship of at least one adult who can share it, rediscovering with him the joy, excitement and mystery of the world we live in. (Rachel Carson)
The student whose study strategy has been a rather scattergun approach:
In all science, error precedes the truth, and it is better it should go first than last. (Hugh Walpole)
The student who has suffered through my teaching for two years with barely concealed despair:
No man who worships education has got the best out of education.... Without a gentle contempt for education no man's education is complete. (G.K. Chesterton)
The student who just never stops to sniff the roses:
I urge you to please notice when you are happy, and exclaim or murmur or think at some point, 'If this isn't nice, I don't know what is.' (Kurt Vonnegut)
The student who was notably excited upon learning that research was something scientists could do as a career:
An experiment is a question which science poses to Nature, and a measurement is the recording of Nature's answer. (Max Planck)
The student who has dealt with major issues and come out the other side relatively unscathed:
A woman is like a tea bag. You never know how strong she is until she gets in hot water. (Eleanor Roosevelt)
The student who nearly left it too late to ask for help:
No man is an island, entire of itself. Each is a piece of the continent, a part of the main. (John Donne)
The student who is going to train as a midwife:
You cannot help but learn more as you take the world into your hands. Take it up reverently, for it is an old piece of clay, with millions of thumbprints on it. (John Updike)
The student who does not, and will not conform to expectations:
To be nobody but yourself in a world which is doing its best, night and day, to make you everybody else means to fight the hardest battle which any human being can fight; and never stop fighting. (e.e. cummings)
The student who desperately wants to change the world:
We must not, in trying to think about how we can make a big difference, ignore the small daily differences we can make which, over time, add up to big differences that we often cannot foresee. (Marian Wright Edelman)
The student who perseveres and claws back success from the jaws of defeat:
Ever tried. Ever failed. No matter. Try Again. Fail again. Fail better. (Samuel Beckett)
The student who never quite lets on how brilliant they are until the last moment:
Don't live down to expectations. Go out there and do something remarkable. (Wendy Wasserstein)
The student who needs to know things get better:
Bad times have a scientific value. These are occasions a good learner would not miss. (Ralph Waldo Emerson)
The student who is a hopeless romantic:
The best scientist is open to experience and begins with romance – the idea that anything is possible. (Ray Bradbury)
The student who has changed paths:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I – I took the one less traveled by, and that has made all the difference. (Robert Frost)
Each framed quote has been wrapped, and accompanied by a little card bearing the words Myosotis arvensis. Some of these students have been mine since GCSE, and it's a wrench to see them go. That said, if they cock up their exams I'll probably see them next year as they get a place on our HND through Clearing...!


  1. MischievousBastard18 June 2012 at 19:47

    Ah but Miss, E.E. Cummings only had half the right of it. The fight is arduous, but it is human, and to occasionally bleed is to be reminded of how human we are. For that, I relish it.

    As for [i]Myosotis arvensis[/i]: never.

    1. :) I'll find as many of you as possible tomorrow to give out presents. I might be rather thinly spread on Friday morning, and I wouldn't want to miss anyone.

    2. MischievousBastard18 June 2012 at 21:19

      Okie doke. I'm about tomorrow before Chem 5.


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