The following remarks were provided by Dr. Sarah E. Merranko, president of the Faculty Senate at the College of Southern Maryland on May 17, during the 60th spring commencement ceremonies at the La Plata Campus.
“It’s often said that learning doesn’t always take place in the classroom and that some of the most important lessons are learned on the playground, in the street, on the job or somewhere altogether unexpected.
“We call these opportunities of reflection ‘teachable moments.’ As a professor, I use that phrase at least once a week when I see the flicker in someone’s eyes that shows me the unexpected happened. That is, after all, what makes teachable moments so powerful–that they come quickly like a summer storm, and they are gone just as fast. These moments may cause pain, conflict, confusion, and create a feeling within like you have lost your sense-of-self. Sometimes it leads to bittersweet endings and other times to new adventures that we never would have imagined for ourselves.
“What you may not realize as a student is that professors have our own teachable moments, and so many of them come from our work with each of you.
“You have taught us to listen-really listen-not only to what you are saying, but also, what you aren’t. You have taught us every semester how our passion for what we do can spark a passion in your learning, even when it’s not a subject that you previously cared about. You have taught us how to be vulnerable with showing our own imperfections, by letting us know that we are still doing a great job at the end- of-the-semester. You have taught us so many lessons that will stay with each of us far after the chairs from today are packed-up, pictures have been taken, and you have moved on to your next great adventures.
“Thank you for being a piece of our lives that have created some of the greatest teachable moments for us.”