Job Over, for this quarter

"The gift is to the giver, and comes back most to him--it cannot fail..." -Walt Whitman
I've spent the entire day reading student portfolios, and I am now turning in my grades...only six hours late. A few colleagues are still on campus and stopped by to tell me, "Your students will never come back for those papers, you don't have to read them." I'd feebly protest. They'd say, "You don't have to read them carefully. You don't have to comment."

I know that. I have been guilty of telling people the same thing. But these are the portfolios of my Creative Nonfiction students, and they are really, really great stories. Not always fully realized, not always structured beautifully. Not always finished. But as works in progress, they are as gorgeous as my students themselves are.

"I would like you to know, Bethany" (one student wrote to me), "that if someday, by some crazy accident, a mad person at a publishing company decides to buy one of my books...your name will be on the dedication page."

How could I not read that student's story?