A Student that Helped Me

Jeffery A. Lang, M.A., M.MIN., D.D., Ph.D.
Adjunct Associate Professor of English and
Adjunct Instructor of Management & Leadership

In Fall semester 2014, I met a student who would change me as an instructor. Let’s call her “Naticka.” She was a scared young woman pretending to be brave, but her behavior was such that I needed to speak with her after class.

Our discussion led to a change in me as an instructor. This young apparently tough woman turned into a child before my eyes and began to beg me not to kick her out of class.

She pleaded, “Please don’t kick me out, I’ll be good,” as the tears flowed from eyes.

She said, “I know I am not smart like the other students, but tell me what to do and I will try and do it.”

“Look at me,” I said in a calm voice, as I tried to control my emotions. I told her to never to say that again. I shared that what she did not know, I would teach her.

I quoted scripture to her, and said, “You are fearfully and wonderfully made,” but what we need to do is find out what is the best way for you to learn.”

I arranged revision sessions and it was in these sessions that we bonded. The more we met the more her communication skills improved. Her classroom courtesy and sense of decorum improved.

To ensure her progress, I provided supplemental material from my wife’s 8th grade reading class.  Gradually I saw her attitude change, and an enthusiasm for writing emerged.

Reviewing her essays became therapy sessions. By the end of the course, she was writing with confidence.  During the process, I learned a great deal about the different types of learners.

At the end of the semester, she wrote me a kind note saying, “Thank you Professor Lang.”

Naticka shared with me how I became like the father she never had–I was moved.  Naticka was ready to give up but found the energy to find her way. She thanked me, but it was I who needed to thank her.  At the time I was overwhelmed by negativity, but her appreciation and success reminded me of why I do this job. Thank you Naticka for reminding me why I teach.