I have just completed one of my most enjoyable teaching experiences;in large part the satisfaction was derived from a fortunate mix of students who represented different walks of life and ideological perspectives but were open to pursue their social work studies with a unified aim of becoming effective and caring social workers.
The bulk of the class was comprised of Orthodox men and women, with the men being either rabbis or studying to become Orthodox rabbis.One student was Afro-American, another an atheist and a two others were secular Jews. They were all bright, intelligent, and "good people." They argued and debated enthusiastically, even heatedly but always respectfully.
What gave me the greatest sense of gratefulness was their genuine kindness and concern for one another and for their clients.
Another source of gratitude was my ability to be silly and sometimes humorous while enjoying an open responsiveness from the class. It is truly wonderful to be free when you teach and not constricted by institutional constraints or expectations of those who pay your salary. As I make my way into my "retirement " phase of life, I discover greater areas of freedom and openness in my writing and teaching. I can't adequately express what a gift that is, and how grateful I am for it.
The time whizzed by; each class was over "before it began;" I am saddened by its ending but fully aware that endings consist of feelings of gratitude for time well spent, for receiving again another gift of living "to teach and to learn."
Thank you, students of the Block program of the Wurzweiler School of Social Work.