What I learned… Laurel Sprague

laurelA lot of the time in high school, I called my Info-Tech teacher, Wanda Smith “Mom.”  She always kinda looked out for me, and even busted my chops a few times when I got things wrong — drastically wrong, one time…  When I graduated high school, I got a card from Wanda that said “You’re like a Son to Me…” and it contained wonderful words of encouragement on my future to come.  After my mother died, Wanda, of course, in the status as “High School Mom” kept a watch on me…  “I’m still Mom #2!” she’s said once or twice.

Coming up on graduation yet again — as I enter the final stretch, Laurel Sprague’s likely the one who holds the status of “College Mom,” as Wanda did and does for me from High School.  While I’ve only known her a little over two years, Professor Sprague and I hit it off right away as colleagues — spending up to an hour talking outside of class after class was over, frequently late to commitments we had after class because we had such interesting conversations on everything from political theory to adjunct faculty policy.

What I learned from Professor Sprague…

Over the summer after a class we had, she invited me to a lunch, asking how I was doing, how I did otherwise in my classes that term, and if I had any constructive criticism or statements on the class I had with her.  I was fortunate enough to even land an internship with her that day, too!

I found myself under her tutelage again this semester, which ended today — on Contemporary Political Theory.  While I’m far more versed (and comfortable, admittedly with the Classics of Political Theory, especially Social Contract stuff) — the good Professor saw I was having trouble almost right away.   “You’re not your usual, talkative self in class, Samuel!” she said at one point in one of our many after-class meetings.  After I said that this was a little out of my comfort and experience zone [in that I’d not studied much on the contemporary stuff we were covering] she offered to tutor me during her office hours, which, sadly conflicted with my work schedule — but I kept up the best I could.

This was a rough semester for me.   Between full-time work, more than a full time courseload, and all of a sudden now working full-time on a campaign too… but then presenting at our school’s largest academic conference, TOO,  I found myself in a very precarious position.  I was spread far too thin, and I had finally reached my breaking point.  While I didn’t break, I was *very* frayed… and in danger of it.  Things were further complicated with some personal problems, including a heart attack my father suffered in the last week of classes — when things were down to the wire.  While everyone, including the good Professor, was nice and even gave me some leeway on things due and presented that week because of it, the good Professor Sprague, being the unique individual she is, kept tabs on me.  At one point, she even ordered me to “Go home, and get some sleep,” because she could see I needed it.  She’s even let me poke fun at her once or twice with what I commissioned as the #Laurelmeme:


I learned a lot from this woman — and while I’ve definitely earned better grades in her classes [even when she cut me some slack!] before, I’ve not only expanded my comfort zone a little in my theorizing, but I’ve also made a friend for life, I think.

While I don’t qualify for any more of her classes, I have a feeling I’m still going to be “reporting in” to the good Professor Sprague in the future.

Thanks for everything you’ve done for me — and for all your students, teach.  Serious students look for serious teachers like you to take the lessons they learn from you through the rest of their lives.   🙂

Memorable Quotes:

“In Locke’s world, things aren’t so bad!  In Hobbes’ world, it’s DEADLY.”

“Because when we’re  talking about the Leviathan… it’s this big…  monstrous… THING [emphatically gestures “largeness” with her hands and arms] from which there is no escape.”

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