Being back in the classroom has definitely added to the dynamic of my interactions with students. Owing to physical distancing recommendations, I am not physically close to my students, but just being in their presence has made some differences.
One of these has been to hear their anxiety over the coming winter. We are experiencing some rather cool temperatures right now, and I can see that it is having an effect on their anxiety level. Currently all of my students come from countries that do not experience below zero temperatures even in the depth of winter. So when it is 4 degrees in September, they have all started to worry.
For one student at least, I was able to do something to cheer them up. You see, I have a pair of women’s heavy-duty winter boots in my closet. These were left by my ex-wife because she moved to a warmer place. I was doing some cleaning and spotted them. Rather than put them in a donation box, I was thinking of trying to give them to somebody. My options were Freecycle or start asking around. I asked my students and they seemed to be interested.
I took them to school and left them in the classroom before the students got there. I spent time preparing for class and really didn’t give it another thought. When I got back to the classroom, the students were in discussion and I could see that they were talking about the boots. I was rather worried that they didn’t fit, or weren’t acceptable and I was going to have to haul the things home again.
Instead, before I could even ask, one of the students said that they fit her and she asked if she could have them. I had already offered them, but I appreciated the polite request and didn’t act in my normal snarky manner. I said sure…or maybe I said absolutely. I try and vary my expressions when talking to students so they get exposed to more vocabulary.
At the end of class, as she was leaving, the student thanked me again. She was so happy to have a warm pair of boots. I was happy to get some space back in the back of my closet without having to throw something useable away. I really hate when something goes to waste. This is probably as a result of my upbringing.
Making someone else happy and not being wasteful is an easy Perfect Moment.