Sunday, September 4, 2011

French Classes

About nine years ago I went back to college to take some French classes. It have been 30 years since I studied French in high school and never took another class. But I started to brushed up on my French online. I always loved the language, but was afraid to try to study it again after such a long time. Little by little I relearned or remembered quite a bit of it. My husband encouraged me to go, so I did.

I took one class to start with and I did great. I took two classes the following semester and aced those too. I just loved the language, I loved being back in school and I loved the professors. I couldn’t wait to do my “homework” and I loved writing papers in French. Eventually, a couple of my professors suggested I take graduate classes because the undergraduate ones were too easy for me. I bit the bullet and tried one, what could it hurt? They were right, the class was challenging, and I was able to handle it without a problem.

As it happens, I favored one French professor in particular. I made it a point to take her classes whenever possible. She had such a thorough knowledge of French literature, which is what I loved most, and she made the classes very interesting and enjoyable. She also encouraged me to pursue the higher level courses and even suggested I should go into teaching. But, teaching was not for me. I was just there to learn as much as I could, that was my sole purpose for attending. Not many people go to college for the love of learning I guess, because she seemed pretty impressed that that was all I wanted to do.

However, when my younger daughter started college, I decided to take time off from my studies. She was tackling a very difficult major and it was a big transition from high school. I wanted to be available if she needed any help along the way. And I told my professor that, to which she responded, “so you are teaching after all.”

My professor and I have kept in touch the past three years. An occasional email here and there. Then in April she wrote to me and said that she was up for an award for outstanding professor and she needed students to write in her behalf. She asked me if I would have the time to write a letter for her. Of course I was only too happy to write one and dropped everything to write it on the spot. It was easy. I had nothing but good things to say about her.

Well, I just received a thank you note in the mail thanking me for writing and telling me that she won the award. It was for $3,000 and she sounded quite happy. I’m, glad I had a part in it, she deserves the recognition.

Professors really do not get paid all that much. Like teachers, people who make their careers in education work long hours, take work home, and are underpaid, and often unappreciated. I think it’s appalling that we don’t offer teachers more pay to attract more highly qualified people and that we don’t place more emphasis on education in this country. Education is the key to ending poverty and becoming a more productive society. Our priorities are screwed up, but at least for this moment, there is one professor who a little happier and has been acknowledge for all she does for her students.

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