What Should I Do About Jacob?
To protect the student’s privacy, the author of this piece has chosen to remain anonymous and has changed all potentially identifying details.
Almost daily I am reminded of the truth in Oppenheimer’s observation: The best way to learn is to teach. Whether the lesson is academic or ethical, there is no other activity that so clarifies one’s thoughts. Through questions, misunderstandings, and occasional challenges, students reacquaint us with uncertainty and doubt. They force us to reconsider what we believe ourselves to know and reckon with what we do not. I am most acutely aware of this when the only thing I can say with certainty is, “I don’t know.”
This semester I have said those three words more often than I did during my first year of teaching. For the last 14 weeks I have been struggling with some variation of the question: What should I do about Jacob?