One of the most powerful experiences I have had with gratitude in a professional context came last year at a conference for educational developers—the field to which many of us at the CITL connect. Prior to the organization president’s address, the conference organizers placed thank-you cards at each table setting, and we were prompted to write a note of gratitude to someone in the organization who had helped, motivated, or inspired us over the years. What followed in the next few hours was moving—hundreds of people walking up to colleagues, handing over a note with a smile, and then walking away. Some people took cards home for colleagues not at the conference, and others asked for extra cards so they could thank more colleagues. I still have a few notes I received on my desk, and they continue to inspire me to be the best colleague I can be, knowing the potential I have to make an impact on others’ work.
In reflecting on my current work in the CITL, I realize there are many people to be grateful for, including campus administrators who are supportive of innovative teaching at IUB, dedicated instructors who give back generously to our community and the CITL, a talented staff of consultants who exhibit amazing intellectual creativity on a daily basis, graduate and undergraduate employees who add valuable perspectives and insights to our work, colleagues in other offices that collaborate with us on projects big and small, and countless support staff that make our work possible by keeping the lights on and the bills paid. And many, many more.
What does gratitude look like to you in your work at Indiana University? Who are you grateful for—who makes your work easier, more rewarding, and more meaningful? Is it the graduate assistant who graded a mountain of assignments for you? The departmental secretary who prepared materials for your class or who got you assigned to that classroom you really prefer? The department colleague who gave you feedback on your syllabus or an assignment? The mentor who provides useful career advice or perspective? The student whose insights made you remember why you love teaching? Or even the barista who hands you that first cup of coffee in the morning?
It’s good for us to remember those people who help us excel in our work at IU, whether their contributions seem profound or mundane. Take some time to reflect on all these people—especially those behind the scenes—and consider finding a way to thank them. If you are willing, add a comment here and tell us about the people who make a difference for you at IU.