I spend my morning responding to student emails from classes I taught semesters ago. With coffee cup in one hand, I’m skimming short stories, personal statements, novels, and memoirs of students who have taken up my offer to allow the writing to continue. After all, I tell them that a great class begins the day it ends.
Years later, they send the start of a novel or an article they’re writing. And I love it.
Sure, it takes time. No, I’m not paid for this kind of mentoring or editing. But when it comes to former students, the answer is always yes. I’m here, setting deadlines for this novelist or going over the third, fourth, for fifth iteration of the perfect personal statement for medical school for this other student. I’m here because of a Muslim student who must tell her story of traveling to Jerusalem for four days. I’m here because of a screenwriter who needs a push in the right direction and someone to tell him how to manage pace and tension.
I ask clarifying questions. I celebrate. I give honest feedback. What fun morning work at my writing desk to engage with students long after a semester ends!
I suppose it’s because I love writing and I love students. And maybe it’s because once you’re my student, it’s always the case. You’re forever my student.