This is a pic of me and a bunch of former students who will be graduating this weekend. These guys invited me to a banquet, and honored me with a wonderful award. Despite my pop quizzes and difficult class and high expectations, they voted me Most Influential Professor. Wow. I was blown away.
It may seem silly to some to be so touched by it, but oh well. I've been teaching for 5 years - mostly undergrads, some grads - and have received little extrinsic reward. Granted, there is the intrinsic stuff - the thrill of seeing the lights come on, helping someone make sense of the physics of speech and voice science, seeing others begin to share my love of the brain, etc. And I was nominated 2 years ago by my major professor to receive a university-wide Teaching award, which I received. But most of this journey has included tons of work and preparation to produce material and content that is often not well received by students. I've been called many names, suffered many insults, received incredibly rude e-mails. This, of course, is offset by the ~10% of the class that show their appreciation, that love to learn, that express that they appreciate the effort.
Well, that proverbial 10% spoke up, and loudly, and now I have a moment forever in my mind, and a certificate forever in my hands, that makes all of that hard stuff completely and 100% worth it.