You know – I hope! – that I am not a boastful person. There’s plenty for me to be humble about – my phenomenally slow writing process, my cluttered house, chaotic finances, crabby pussycat. Today though, out of the blue, I received an email from a former student, B. J. Richmond, who wrote to say that she has nominated me for the U of T Excellence in Teaching award, and sent me what she sent them.
I want to have it tattooed on my body. I did not pay her for this. No money exchanged hands. She just wrote it because, I guess, she wanted to. Imagine. Thank you thank you, B.J.
I needed this today. Because today was the first day of the new once-a-month home class I’d recently set up. Twelve students were eager to participate, though four told me they were travelling this month but would be there next. So I was expecting 8 today. But one after another, people wrote that they couldn’t come, sorry, my mother’s sick, the water in my house is turned off … So tonight, instead of 12, there were 2. Two eager writers. We had a great class anyway. But receiving this from B.J. certainly makes it all worthwhile.
“Beth Kaplan arrived at the first class as a superlative educator — with super enthusiasm, authoritative knowledge, an appropriate structure for students to give and receive the maximum feedback on their writing, a clear enunciation of the experience that she would provide for her students, an array of aids and and a wealth of information. Each class was as well-prepared and stimulating as the first. Beth provided information, inspiration and leadership that come from years of writing and coaching others, a love and knowledge of literature, specific instruction about memoir writing and the issues that it raises for student-writers, respect for her students’ life experience and skills, and a knowledge of effective adult education. Her summaries and critiques of student work were masterful, fair and delivered with grace, beyond anything else I have experienced in other writing courses.
She provided our class with an extracurricular opportunity to meet an award-winning Canadian author and memoirist, who, in turn, generously shared his notemaking and preparation for writing, a tremendously informative experience for me. Her well-organized and fun blog provided another extracurricular tool allowing students to tap into a banquet of information and inspiration.
I have years of experience and a PhD in Adult Education from OISE/UT. For me, Beth Kaplan personifies excellence in teaching and I was fortunate to learn from her.”