once upon a time there was a mug. it was dark blue with a simple line graphic depicting a one-on-one tutoring session. Vinas (sp?) gave it to me. he was (and perhaps still is) the director of UIC’s writing center. as part of my first year as an English Comp GA, i spent time honing my writing/reading/analysis/synthesis skills as i tried to help students shape more rhetorically pleasing papers (pun intended…if it’s actually a pun…i’m really tired).
tutoring was always nerve wracking. my guess is we only had 50 minutes together, at best. and the hope was that the words currently on the page would reveal an easy 1-2-3 fix. for both my sake and the sake of the undergrad, i hoped this would be our one and only encounter and that it would be amazing. i don’t remember amazing but then again there are loads of life’s details that have escaped my memory’s grasp…especially the stuff of middle & high school. for those memories i call on my good friend Trish. what’s that animal with an amazing memory? yeah, that’s Trish.
as for tutoring, any significant memories i have from those writing center days are courtesy of this mug. here’s what happened.
Vinas asked me to fill in last minute. someone couldn’t make their shift. my next period was free. i said yes. that’s all. i said yes.
he was abundantly grateful. i remember thinking it was no big deal and that he was being over the top, far too many “thank you’s”. he was so thankful that i figured it was pretty hard to find subs–my “yes” was gold. and then, to further affirm his thankfulness, he handed me this mug. it’s the sort of promotional item that i ordinarily would have had to purchase for far too many dollars. instead it was a gift and i’ve been quite protective of it ever since.
it reminds me initially of teaching because it’s part of my teaching history. i steep a bag of peppermint tea inside it and wonder if i’ll return to the classroom and what in the world i’d teach. i’m actually surprised by what i’ve unpacked in this post because it reveals something much deeper than my love for teaching–i treasure this mug because it represents another person’s appreciation of me.
who knew?! i’ve been clueless for over a decade now, under the impression that knowing i’m valued isn’t that important to me.
there’s something to this unpacking thing…