TITLE: Being Remembered AUTHOR: Eugene Wallingford DATE: February 19, 2007 12:03 AM DESC: ----- BODY:
Charisma in a teacher is not a mystery or a nimbus of personality, but radiant exemplification to which the student contributes a corresponding radiant hunger to becoming.

-- William Arrowsmith
On a day when I met with potential future students and their parents, several former students of mine sent me links to this xkcd comic:
xkcd -- my god, it's full of cars
I laughed out loud twice while reading it, first at the line "My god, it's full of cars." and then at the final panel nod at a postmodern god. The 'cars' line was a common subject line in the messages I received. As these messages rolled in, I also felt a great sense of honor. Students whom I last saw two or seven or ten years ago thought enough of their time studying here to remember me upon reading this comic and then send me an e-mail message. All studied Programming Languages and Paradigms with me, and all were affected in some lasting way by their contact with Scheme. One often hears about how a teacher's effect on the world is hard to measure, like a ripple on the water sent out into the future. I am humbled that some really neat people out in this world recall a course they took with me. Of course, I know that a big part of this effect comes from the beauty of the ideas that I am fortunate enough to teach. Scheme and the ideas it embodies have the power to change students who approach it with a "radiant hunger to becoming". I am merely its its channel. That is the great privilege of scholars and teachers, to formulate and share great ideas, and to encourage others to engage the ideas and make them grow. -----