An Unexpected Success

So, when a blog dedicated to daily learning goes silent for a few days, it means

  • (A) the blogger hasn’t been learning anything
  • (B) the blogger has been learning so much that he can’t keep up with blogging
  • (C) the things the blogger has been learning are not things to be shared publicly
  • (D) all of the above


One of the most surprising things this week was the reaction I got from many of my students to something I taught them in the first week of class. I wanted to give them a homework assignment to produce an outline of an entire 100-page book that we’re going to be studying together. Just an outline. All they had to read and notate was the chapter titles, headings, and subheadings. Whenever I am writing or taking notes I immediately switch to “outline view” in MS Word. As a writer, I live in outline view in MS Word. Have done so for the past 20 years at least.


Rather than assume that all my students knew about outline view, I took 10 minutes of class time to show it to them and to give them a quick tour of what you can do with it. Well, you would have thought that I had introduced them to the holy grail! Within an hour I got an e-mail from one of them telling me how grateful she was that I had taught her to use outline view. She said she had already started using it for other classes, and that she wished someone had shown her this 2 ½ years ago when she first started college. Who knew?

Then there were a couple more, similar e-mails over the next few days. This week, when I met with my classes for the second time, I heard from several students that they love using outline view. What??? Again several thanked me for teaching them about it.

I am not stretching the truth when I tell you that I can count on my hands the number of times I’ve been thanked by a student for something I’ve taught them. In 35+ years of teaching. Until this week.

Life is full of surprises.


4 thoughts on “An Unexpected Success

  1. How wonderful! I am sad to say that most young people today don’t seem to understand the value of those two little words “thank you”. I personally use them constantly in my daily life, even thanking my husband each time he does even a little thing for me. I am always pleased when someone thanks me as well. I especially thank those vastly underrated folks in the service industry – store clerks, check-out clerks and so on. Those folks have to put up with a lot of rude behavior and I am sure they enjoy hearing those two little words too.

    So happy for you that you got such a great response from that lesson – makes it seem all worthwhile, doesn’t it?

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