I hope all the regular and periodic readers of Jstheater had an enjoyable holiday weekend. C. and I were in the infernally hot Chicago area yesterday to attend a small luncheon ceremony at the university, which bestowed on me the E. Leroy Hall Award for Excellence in Teaching. I've posted only a little about my teaching career and experiences on this blog over the last year, and usually I've only done so to praise the wonderful students I've worked with (and both the graduates and undergraduates were amazing again this year), but I do find teaching one of the most rewarding experiences in my life, and I can truthfully say that there are few things more exciting and moving that witnessing my students' intellectual development and growth. Many teachers say that they learn as much from their students as they give, and I eagerly attest to this. I've used the concept of the conversation before, in relation to writing fiction, translations, and other forms and modes of creativity, but I think it's most salient and necessary in the classroom; without dynami,c multivalent conversations, particularly in the humanities and arts, I tend to feel that no real intellectual--and thus educational--exchanges can even (begin to) occur. I've yet to teach a class in which I didn't learn something new, including about myself, and my aim is that my students can leave my classes feeling the same way. My thanks go to my colleagues, and above all, to my students!
The ceremony was brief and lovely, and below is a photo that C. took of the Dean of the College of Arts and Science (at left), my department chair (at right), and me, as I accepted the award.