Tuesday, September 25, 2012

nice words indeed

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."


  1. Well said. I second all the words offered above. Looking forward to our own banquet of information and inspiration.

  2. You are too kind. As Wayson would say, keep it up.