Yesterday was the day before Thanksgiving.  In my plant production class I always set up a short lab for Wednesday afternoon so that students can leave early and get to wherever they need to go (hopefully to see family).  As usual, I got to lab a little early so that I could get the students going right away.  Waiting for me there was one of my students. 

Earlier in the year I had told the class about commercial mycorrhizae and how the beneficial spores that you think you’re buying are usually dead when you purchase the package.  Well, this student wanted to check it out, so, unbeknownst to me, he purchased some mycorrhizae and placed them into a petri dish with a special nutrient mix to grow these fungi (he works in a lab which has this kind of material available).  He came to lab early to tell me about his results.

As a teacher it’s easy to get discouraged in a classroom.  Sometimes it’s tough to tell whether the students are listening and I wonder if I’m getting through.  But then a student goes and does something like this and it’s all worth it.

The results of his little test don’t really matter (though they did confirm what I’d told the class), what matters is that the student heard what I’d said and went to the trouble to test it for himself.

So this Thanksgiving I’m thankful that I’m fortunate enough to witness and take some small role in the intellectual curiosity of students.

Happy Thanksgiving Everyone!

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One thought on “Thanksgiving”

  1. “I trade with you my mind.” An alien blob on a blue planet “trades” minds with a human space explorer and the human’s life is forever changed. He retains all the knowledge and life experiences that are his own but adds all that the alien has accumulated over a very long lifetime.
    This line from a science fiction story has been a beacon for most of my life. If people could really “trade” their minds with others, just think of the immeasurably vast body of knowledge that would build up!
    In a very limited sense, this is what we do when we teach. We give a small piece of our knowledge (our mind) to those who listen. We hope they take it in and put it with their own knowledge and experience and use it for some good in the world.
    One reason we have had such an explosion of knowledge in the last couple of centuries is due in large part to the easy availability of education to almost everyone. The advent of the internet has multiplied that beyond our wildest dreams (except maybe the sci-fi writers!)
    And now Salvatore Iaconesi has added yet another layer with his search for a cure for his brain cancer. By posting his medical records online for the world to see, he is trying to bring together the collective wisdom of many cultures and professions to make his world a better place. And in doing so, he may just make it a better place for many others as well. Keep up the good work, Jeff.

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