Today was my first day teaching English at University of Detroit-Mercy. As I stood in a long line to get my parking permit and faculty ID, a grumbly faculty member several people behind me griped at the kind woman behind the desk.
“I have a 12 o’clock class. I can’t be late,” he insisted. It was 11 a.m. She reassured him in a soft voice that he would be out of there in time.
“Well, I have other things to do, also. I am a faculty member. Can’t you take care of me NOW?”
Firmly but kindly, the lady replied, “Sir. I am helping another faculty member right now. (ME)”
As I was thinking what an ass – he thinks he’s more important than the students!, the student standing in front of this professor said, “Sir, would you like to go ahead of me?”
And I was reminded of the power of kindness.
That’s all it takes: a few extra minutes, a kind word, an offer that comes with understanding of another person’s discomfort.
If this student is symbolic of the tenor and tone of the student population at UDM, then I am thrilled to teach there.