Dishes fall, Awards lift up

For me the end of each term is the end of an exciting journey of learning and discovery with the students in my courses. I always feel a mixture of happiness and sadness as the term closes. For a time we have shared a learning journey, the students working to learn the material, I working to make the material more apprehensible and comprehensible.


I filed my grades this morning, bringing a sense of academic closure to the term. I headed home not knowing that a failure to think through the physics of a situation would present me with my own grade of F at home.


Water collects under the dish drying rack. I have, in the past, put the rack up on marbles to allow air flow under the rack. This allows the counter to dry during the day. I had placed a wood cutting board behind the rack against the window. Winds are light and variable at this time of year, gusts are not usually an issue.


When I walked into the the kitchen, the floor was covered with fragments of broken glass and porcelain plates. On CNN the Richard Quest was covering the 997 point freak fall of the Dow Jones Industrials. Fingers were being pointed at a data entry error involving Proctor and Gamble, along with the nation of Greece. I knew it was just the aftershock of my dishes hitting the floor here in Pohnpei.
The wood cutting board had been blown over and down, pushing the drying rack off the counter. I know the physics in detail, preoccupied with end-of-term tasks my brain had taken a physics vacation. I had failed to see the obvious cause and effect that would occur should a freak wind gust blow directly out of the taro patch and into the window. 
After cleaning up the kitchen and cooking up a peanut butter chicken stir-fry with cayenne peppers and tomatoes, I headed to the annual staff and faculty awards ceremony. I was stunned and deeply honored when I was named faculty of the year, a honor bestowed by my colleagues, both faculty and staff. 
I was all the more shocked when I was named, along with faculty member Professor Susan Moses, for the student's choice award. The student's choice award is selected by students only, any member of staff, faculty, or administration is eligible for this award. I can think of no higher honor I could ever hope to earn as an instructor than to be the students' choice. Professor Moses has been and continues to be a role model for me, she exemplifies excellence in instruction and learning at the college. Being named alongside her was also an honor.


After the awards everyone enjoyed a sumptuous buffet dinner. I sat and ate in quiet shock, barely able to comprehend the events of a tumultuous and wonderful day. Fortunately my son had accompanied me to the event, and we enjoyed the meal together.

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