Catherine learns about activity, care and relationships from her logic students


It’s back-to-school time for me and everyone around me. It feels strange after being away for 18 months, teaching on a small screen to even smaller students. It feels strange teaching in-person, all of us wearing masks (my campus has a mask and vaccine mandate). One of my current students introduced herself to me last week, reminding me that she was in one of my zoom classes last spring. I commented that she looked different in person than she did inside a small square on my laptop. She said the same was true of me, and we both chuckled, a bit nervously.

Some things, however, haven’t changed. I’m still teaching online introduction to logic–two sections. I’ve been doing this for more than ten years, and it has its plusses and minuses, both for the students and for me.

One of the plusses (for me, at least) is this: at the start of the term, I ask the students to introduce themselves. I offer them a variety of questions to answer to get them started (all optional):

Who are you? What should we call you? Where are you from? What’s your major or interest (if you haven’t declared one yet)? Do you have pets? Siblings? Kids? Favorite house plants or T shirts? What do you do when you’re not schooling? Tell us whatever you’d like.

They always deliver. I’m in awe of how much they do, how many relationships they sustain, how many hours they work at jobs to help support themselves, their families, and their educational goals.

So, in honor of the start of the school year, here’s what 58 logic students do to be active, caring, and satisfied, in the form of lists.

They take care of a LOT of pets:

  • 23 cats
  • 28 dogs
  • one horse
  • one bunny
  • one betta fish
  • 3 mice
  • 11 chickens
  • indeterminate number of other farm animals

They take care of other humans:

  • 13 children
  • 15+ younger siblings
  • loads of other peoples’ kids (as nannies, babysitters, daycare workers)
  • elderly people (as caregivers, aides)
  • school-age kids (as teachers’ aides)
  • kids’ sports teams
  • vulnerable people (in centers, schools, hospices)

They keep active:

  • horseback riding
  • cycling
  • running
  • basketball
  • football
  • yoga
  • dancing
  • softball
  • hockey
  • hiking
  • fishing
  • snowboarding
  • gym workouts
  • water skiing
  • playing with their animals

They go to places that make them happy:

  • the beach
  • the park
  • the woods

And they do all of this while working many jobs. Many or most of them work full-time AND are full-time (or close to it) students. Their lives are, in short, full.

I am in awe of these people. I already like them and am proud of them for their courage in taking on two lives’ worth of activity and caring and work. I hope to learn more from them as the term goes on.

Happy Labor Day weekend, everyone!

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