You’ve Got Mail!

anneThanks, AOL for giving us this simple reminder which has, throughout the years, made us stop whatever we are doing and check that email box! It has been a source of  pleasure, surprise, mystery, intrigue, a sense of belonging, and humor to many, causing them to think they just received something. Gosh, there must be something important there! I must see what it is!! I could have won the lottery or gotten that long awaited salary raise…or it could have just been a reminder for a meeting (one that you probably didn’t want to attend anyway)? Whatever the case, your response is — Out of my way world! I have mail!!!!

Hmm, those words remind me of something that the Pleasure in Learning Team has been referencing for several months now: how can something as simple as an email create such a change in your behavior or level of excitement? Simple. It supplies us with something new and yet to be discovered, like that Christmas present under the tree that you have tried to secretly open for days just to get a peek at what might be hidden inside!Untitled

I had a similar experience just this past week. I teach a developmental psychology class each term. Usually I find myself searching for something new, something that will create a sense of accomplishment, curiosity and fun for my classes. I am constantly asking myself, “What can I provide, show or tell to help them gain something from this class other than the textbook information?” Something they can find useful and informative and fun to do?”

FOUND IT!!!!!! One of our blog’s  “good reads” is Adulting– in 468 easy-ish steps by Kelly Williams Brown.  This has been one of the best things that I have introduced into my class – EVER! I read the book this summer and immediately decided to make it a “must read” for this particular class.

adultingNow, let’s get back to the justification to the title of this piece: how does this relate to getting an email? This fall I decided to email the author of the book and relate to her how the book had been a revelation not only to me but to the majority of my students and for a lot of friends and family members. I never dreamed that I would receive a response. You know the thought process. This is an author of a book; she has job responsibilities, TV appearances, and she is an important figure – she is busy! Why would a person in this position bother to write to a small community college professor who, on a whim, decided to give her kudos on her book? I was hoping she would respond, but in the back of my mind I sort of knew that the chances were slim.

Three weeks later, I noticed an email in my inbox. It was from Kelly Williams Brown! I couldn’t wait to open the email. It was as if everything in my world came to an abrupt halt until I read it. I experienced, pleasure, surprise, humor, a sense of belonging and knew that she and I had a connection!!!! I read the email to my colleagues, my students, family and anyone who would listen. Those are feelings that you experience when you have accomplished something that you had imagined as being something that probably wasn’t going happen.

This is how students feel when they put make an effort to do something, especially something that involves “putting themselves out there.” Experiencing this has made me focus on what else can I provide that would excite and encourage my students in the future. What about you?

Thank you, Kelly Williams Brown.

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