"And gladly wolde he lerne
And gladly teche."

Geoffrey Chaucer

The below e-mail is from a student of mine writing to me at my personal rather than work e-mail address.

Date: Tue, 26 Jan 1999 19:23:50 EST
To: cybrgbl@deltanet.com
Subject: Hi Mr. Geib

Dear Mr. Geib,
Are you sure that it's alright if I e-mail you at this address? I mean, I don't want to invade your privacy or personal life. (Unless I already have...) I think that you handled today's situation very well. Just as a student, I don't think that it was right for Mariana to go into your FAQ on the computer in the classroom, especially while you were teaching!!! Plus, all of the sudden, you are telling everyone about this webpage when just a few weeks ago, I don't think that you told any of your students. I think that it is kind of sad that some people would actually think that you would pose naked on the web...we should have some decent respect for you, considering that you are our teacher, after all. I guess it surprised me that you didn't care if everyone saw your webpage. I just hope that we are not invading your privite life too much. At least for now, none of us know where you live!!! (Somewhere near Sepulveda...)
Anyway, write back!
I'll see ya tomorrow!

     Dear Courteous Student of Mine Who Will Remain Anonymous,

     It is true I had some trepidation about having students visit my personal site, but it is in the public realm and I am ashamed of nothing on it. Much of the material is "intellectual" and I would imagine it appeals more to adults, but if my students want to spend the time to read it then I am flattered. Just because I am a teacher, it does not follow that I do not have an intellectual and spiritual life with the larger commonweal. True I am a teacher; but I am according to the situation many different persons to friends, family, students -- and even strangers! No doubt this will come across when you read my webpage. To be a teacher does not mean one must live as a two dimensional caricature to students; I would think ideally it should be the opposite. To be more exact, I am a teacher not for the money or because I can do nothing else; rather, my job (my vocation!) is an extension of my most inner beliefs, and those beliefs are stated ad nauseam on my webpage.

     It does concern me that SOME middle school students lack the maturity to read my page as it should be read, and I have been getting some not-so-nice anonymous guest book signatures from respondents who I know are students at our school. Nevertheless, an exemplary student such as yourself is more than welcome to visit my webpage; it is who I "am," in a distilled form. I would rather stop being a teacher than to take it down, if I were forced to make that decision. I am after all a "human being" even before I am a "teacher." And if I choose to share private moments and thoughts with the larger world, then you need not apologize for reading them. Read, learn, and enjoy what you may! This swollen mass of my website is the result of thousands of hours of careful labor on my part over many years. Students write essays in my classes all the time about highly personal subjects and then share them with me; now perhaps the debt is in part re-paid.

     There is always personal risk in sharing thusly, but the rewards vastly outweigh the dangers, in my opinion and experience. Some 40,00 distinct "hosts" visit some section of my domain ("www.rjgeib.com") per month, and the majority of the feedback is complimentary and a joy to read. I receive approximately 15 e-mails from total strangers everyday who stumble across my website; some of it is highly critical, and some people even threaten me. Consequently, I have thick skin when it comes to criticism and even malicious mockery. You need not worry about students giving me a hard time or "invading my privacy." Nevertheless, I appreciate very much your concern. Usually it is the job of the teacher to be protective of students, not vice versa! Your thoughtful e-mail reminds me why nine mornings out of ten I jump out of bed in expectation of the day's work.

     I am coming down with a cold near the corner of Sepulveda and Burbank this rainy, cold winter evening. I cannot wait for spring and warmer weather. I will see you tomorrow morning.

     Very Truly Yours,

     Mr. Geib

P.S. Sign my guest book


... with a cool response to the question "How is Life Treating You?" and I will post it with the other responses at: http://www.rjgeib.com/about-me/guest/response.html

Date: Wed, 27 Jan 99 05:37:08 GMT
To: cybrgbl@deltanet.com
From: DeltaNet Form Processor (formpro@www.deltanet.com)
Subject: Guest Book Signature

The field values for the form received were:

Country?="United States of America"
Findout="I was looking for you"
How is life treating you?="Pretty good, so far. I have been blessed to have a wonderful English teacher, not to mention the best History teacher in the WWW!! See ya later!"
comments="Hey, Mr. Geib, I am signing your guest book as you asked.
Great webpage! I am thouroughly impressed and hope that one day, my webpage will be as terrific as this!!!
See ya tomorrow!"

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