Copyright © Louis Schmier

Date: Tue 6/13/2006 6:46 AM
Random Thought: A One Sentence Assignment

No walking today. Alberto is coming right over Valdosta. Fortunately, we'll feel more of a jab than a torrential and windy punch. In any event, he's not putting a damper on our excitement. Early tomorrow morning, Susan and I are heading off for four fun-loving and adventurous weeks of touring China in celebration of our 40th wedding anniversary. Before we leave, however, unexpectedly I have to complete an assignment given me this morning by a first year student who was in class last semester.

"Dr. Schmier, Louis, hi. I bet you're surprised to hear from me. I'm surprised that I'm still thinking about the class and about you. This is a first. I really loved the class and learned a lot more than I thought I would. I really learned a lot of history that is still sticking with me by doing all those unusual hands-on projects. They were wild, but they surprised me that they worked. I know, I told you that in my final evaluation. But, I didn't tell you something else that I want you to know. You told us at closure that you didn't feel you were completely 'on your game' this semester because of the demands on you to constantly help your wife take care of her very sick mother. Well, I want you to know you were on your game with me--and a lot of others that you may not know about. And because of you I'm on my own game. You really made a difference in me. I didn't realize it until now after talking lots with my parents about atmosphere in the class, how much you are care about each student, and your how you teach to help us learn for ourselves. I told them that probably more important than learning all that history I learned a lot about my fences and what I could do if I could take the risk and find the courage to tear down those fences and venture out. You made learning so much 'serious fun' for me to do that that I forgot more and more about all my fears as the semester wore on. Now I am beginning to see that the only fears I have are the ones I choose to have. I see now, although I didn't then, that first began when we did the 'THE SONG' at the end of all those community building 'getting to know ya' exercises at the beginning of the semester. Even though I was undecided, I thought I wanted to be a teacher. Now I'm no longer undecided. I know I want to be a teacher. I want to do for students what you helped me do for myself. So, I have a question for you. Could you tell me in a nutshell your idea of teaching that I can always use to guide me? I hope you and your wife are okay after the death of her mother. You two are in my thoughts and prayers. Have fun in China and I'll see you in August."

I immediately wrote this back this morning.

"Lauren, read closely what you just wrote to me. You don't need me. You already have your guide: teaching is the playful search and discovery with others for the potential in each of them--and in me."

         Make it a good day.


         Louis Schmier      
         Department of History
         Valdosta State University
         Valdosta, GA  31698                 /~\        /\ /\
         912-333-5947              /^\      /     \    /  /~\  \   /~\__/\
                                 /     \__/         \/  /  /\ /~\/         \
                          /\/\-/ /^\_____\____________/__/_______/^\
                        -_~    /  "If you want to climb mountains,   \ /^\
                         _ _ /      don't practice on mole hills" -    \____

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