I had some interesting conversations with students the past few weeks. One student has been in my physics classes both semesters. He's really smart, but also... well, he describes himself as lazy. He is content with doing the minimum needed to earn a passing grade, but he could achieve so much more. And he knows it. But last week he started talking about sustainable architecture and went on and on and on. That's it... that's what makes him tick, and I wish I'd found that out during the first week of the fall semester.
One of my astronomy students mentioned that he wanted to be a teacher. Specifically, a special needs K-12 teacher for deaf students from Spanish language homes, a niche that is probably woefully unfilled hereabouts. He has some friends who are deaf, and he has been disturbed by the quality of education they receive in traditional special ed classes.
Another astronomy student started off the semester a little rough. You can tell that his educational background is not the best, yet I never doubt his desire to learn. And he's been bitten by the astronomy bug - ha! But what I found most interesting is why astronomy has started to appeal to him. He feels like he is at a crossroads in his life, open to new possibilities and new ideas, whether that be in regards to career or faith. He says he feels like he's searching for truth and that the astronomy class has become part of the journey.
I wish I had time to find out the things that make each student twitch, you know?