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Letter to the Editor: Celebrating with thankful heart

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Dr. Laura de Ghetaldi


It is at this time of year we celebrate the practice of giving thanks.

This is a particular monumental year for me as I celebrate having taught for 40 years. It is now and always that I am grateful for my connections with students through the honor of my profession of teaching. Each year has blessed me interacting with the remarkable young lives that continue to enrich my own. They continue to teach me so very much. Each day I walk away from campus, I am enriched with gratitude that another day of mine has been blessed with having the opportunity to be with students.

We as teachers open the doors for learning but I see students themselves so much a part of their own learning. I teach content yes, but I teach with my heart and I hope that my students will take their knowledge and rightfully share it with others. I remember the moment in my teaching career where I learned that how you teach can make a difference. I was lecturing at the University of Colorado Boulder with a class of almost 500 students. The course was Nutrition, Exercise and Health and we met in the large Chemistry lecture Hall. I wondered how I could teach such important content to a sea of humanity that I did not have the real opportunity to know and reach individually.

I decided to begin or end each class with a powerful reading- one that reached their hearts, their souls and their journey towards self-efficacy. I would get my chair, place it up on top of the long, built-in chemistry tabling, climb up and sit in the chair. I would read stories from the then popular series “Chicken Soup for the Soul.” I knew that I was taking a risk doing something a bit off base from the content. But lo and behold they listened. They starting writing to me and sharing their own stories. On the last day of class, I went in for the final lecture, and there was my chair placed up on the table with over 100 cans of chicken soup placed on the chair. It was then and there I was strengthened to remember it is the student you teach, and it is the content and how we teach it that makes the difference. I took all of those cans of soup and donated them to a foodbank but kept one can to always remind myself to teach with heart.

It is with a thankful heart that I extend my appreciation to students of my past, my present and to the unknown yet students of my future. It is beyond the subject material that I cover in my classes. I have the opportunity to address “CIVILITY” -caring, compassion, empathy and respect, all while celebrating the culture and diversity of others. I celebrate our interdependence upon and for one another and I look to the future where you as students will not say, “It can be done,” but rather, “It has been done.”

On to next semester!

With gratitude,

Dr. Laura de Ghetaldi, Department of Kinesiology


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