Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Looking a gift horse in the mouth

Do your students ever give you gifts? I must admit I have never really gotten snazzy things from my students or photos at the end of the class or hugs or requests for letters of recommendation or such stuff. But this past fall semester I had that one Fruit Studies class where it was just love-y love all around. I had students make brownies and coffee one day near the end (and then, alas, top it with cocoanut --- yay, little shavings of anaphylactic death!)

And I had Crazy Retired Man Auditing Classes ---- did I tell you the funny stories about him? remind me to tell you about his rant about aliens. No, I'm not kidding. But he was a sweetheart and as long as you could keep him on track he made a lot of good contributions to the class ---- well, he was taking a pottery class along with mine and he made me a mug!  

See? It is currently decorating my office, but I don't trust his glazing skills enough to actually use it. That's ok; it's pretty. And it makes me want to take cool pottery classes every time I look at it.

This semester I have a different little sweetheart, who is out and proud and not only willing to step up and testify on that front but also bring up issues of race and social justice in the class, which is awesome. And he catches whatever little risque jokes or off-color puns I accidentally make but I don't feel like I'm about to get into trouble.

A while back he asked me some questions after class --- those questions that don't really seem to have a point except for the subtext of "I like you!" --- And I have been there with that awkward I-don't-know-what-to-say-to-a-favorite-teacher-but-I-don't-want-the-class-to-be-over situation and totally love that.

So the next day he dropped by my office hours with a big plastic shopping bag. "Dr. Cog, I just wanted to give this to you!" Awwwwww. So I opened it up, and found ...

Hmm. On the one hand, I totally appreciate this. And I drank them, so it's not like I am worried he was poisoning me or anything. Every day I'd open one and go "sweet! I don't have to spend any money on my caffeine habit!" But I also, because I have to overthink everything, wonder if this is making some sort of comment on me, or on my caffeine habit or weight or something.

But no! Stop this! Just drink your damn gifts and revel in the fact that you were offered them. If they start offering me whiskey to mix with it, that's when I know I have a problem.


Bardiac said...

One former student gave me a big jug of homemade maple syrup. :) (Her family makes maple syrup, along with growing farm stuff.) WAY COOL! And soooo yummy!

I'm still waiting for the Porsche and the diamonds. /nod

Flavia said...

This is all so so sweet.

Well, except for the anaphylactic death part.

Belle said...

Oh, just enjoy the goodies. My first - and certainly most memorable - was a bag of comfort food: mac & cheese, diet coke, cookies, candy bars - from a student in one of my very first classes. She brought it by when she found out I was prepping for my MA exams, along with best wishes from all the friends she'd met in that class.

Contingent Cassandra said...

I've had the occasional student give me perfume or scented lotions, which have a less-dramatic version of the effect of coconut on you (headache, not anaphylactic shock), but nothing more interesting than that. I sort of like the idea that he actually observed your habits and came up with something that fit them (well, at least until he shows up on your doorstep at midnight one night, but that doesn't seem likely).