Strange and Charming Particles
One of the weird things about teaching is that you spend three months getting to know a group of people who are destined to disappear. Inevitably you start to like a few of them. They're funny or interesting. You have watched them rise to the occasion, overcome a problem or in a few cases tank. Sometimes, too, they have shared deeply personal things about their lives with you. You have rooted for them, grumbled about them, laughed with them.
And then they leave.
They don't call, they don't write. They just leave. It's almost like you get dumped at the end of every semester. And 95 percent of these people you will never see or hear of again. A class--especially a good one--is like one of those rare subatomic particles that flashes into existence in a super collider. It's there for a nanosecond or two and then it's gone.
I had two really great classes this semester. I liked the course and the energy the students brought to the room. I liked them. So this past week we had final exams and I watched as these two rare, strange and charming particles disintegrated. One-by-one, the students quietly gathered their things, handed in their papers or exams and walked away. When the last kid finished, it was just me standing there again in an empty room.
It was over. Dumped again.