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The hard part of teaching - saying goodbye

Fall is here, and many of my students have left for college, new jobs and other ventures. Those who studied with me this summer brought a special color and texture to my teaching life, and like scattered autumn leaves, I will miss each of them. A teacher treads carefully, learning more about a student through his or her writing than through personal questions. After all, we are there to work on English grammar, or essay organization, or some other aspect of the many-leveled experience of language. Yet, although we are seated at a plain table in an impersonal space, each student's uniqueness emerges as the hours and days pass. It may sound trite, but I feel such a sense of privilege getting to know these terrific and highly motivated people and doing what I can to help them reach their chosen goals. I hope they know--these students from Korea, China, Colombia, Spain, Japan, Russia and the US--that I will never forget any of them.