It’s a decade after graduation
And Janey is taking her daughter to soccer.
She’s forgotten your insane reading list
And sweating through a monster macro midterm. 
But in her mind she can see an open door,
And taste Tootsie Rolls from the bowl on your desk.

Janey has a raised ranch in Racine and an SUV. 
She can’t remember a B-minus on a term paper 
Or paying ninety bucks for a bewildering bio book. 
But she can hear you choking up
While reading a powerful passage from Pericles, 
And smell popcorn at a finance study session.

Janey’s a junior assistant with a tough load. 
Confident, caring, and capable,
She has no memory of Avogadro’s Constant
Or the day you managed to misspell memento,
But she remembers your cheering at her tennis match 
And concern over limping into class the next day.

Janey has an appointment with her doctor 
Because her cholesterol has jumped to 209. 
She doesn’t care that you skipped chapter 9 
Or called on her spontaneously at 9 AM,
But when you “projected the condition of your soul 
Onto your students and your subject,” Janey felt it.

It’s a decade after graduation
And Janey still remembers that open door, 
That candy bowl, that warm smile.


By Chris Clark

[quote based on The Courage to Teach, by Parker Palmer] 

Written for the Wakonse Conference on College Teaching, May 2015 
Dedicated to Joe Johnston on his retirement from the University of Missouri

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