It just does something wonderful for your soul when a student who has already graduated and has no ulterior motive calls you out of the blue to tell you how much you meant to them and how the courses you taught them were the most meaningful, influential and useful of their college career. This is especially true when the courses you teach have the highest difficulty and stringency level (but are still seriously watered down from what they should be and even what they once were because self-preservation has to play a role there or there won’t be a class –or your personal job teaching that class — will be threatened from those who, at least at the time they are taking it, do not appreciate the work they are required to put in). It is still a bitter sweet feeling because you know these kids were let loose in a competitive world without the firm grasp, and in some areas not even a grasp, of the knowledge and tools they need to compete. Yet, when a kid calls and says hey, you put in that extra mile and I now can see that you went out of your way to help us and meet with us (yep without any sort of financial compensation) and not only for your classes but for classes you weren’t even teaching…yeah, I have a brief moment of feeling good. If that could translate into being able to afford to heat my apartment then I’d feel a sh**load better.