At today's lecture I unexpectedly got to experience one of the greatest rewards that teaching brings. Something that never fails to leave me buzzing with happiness for the rest of the day:
Of a queue of five students lying in wait for me after the lecture, only one wanted to ask about some administrative matter. The other four had questions like:
"Since last week's lecture, I've been thinking a lot about [concept], and was wondering, how would you apply it to [some more difficult data]?"
"I was reading [optional recommended text], and I couldn't stop thinking about [concept]. So what do you think about how [concept] relates to [something discussed in today's lecture]?"
"What you said today about [theory] was really interesting. I was trying to work out how it applies to [other language]. I think I can see how to make it fit, so if I explain, can you tell me if I'm on the right track?"
And the best thing is that the final student waited 15 minutes for me to finish with the other students, just so that she could ask this sort of in-depth question. It's not something she will need to know for the exam. It's not anything urgent that she has to deal with today. But she was interested enough in the subject matter to wait a quarter of an hour to get to discuss it with me some more.
I love my students.
And I must be doing something right.