One of the most rewarding moments of teaching "Leading with Empathy" was reading all the hand-written thank-you letters and cards from my students as the course came to an end. Reading these heart-warming words and hearing that I have opened new doors for their young lives gave me a feeling of achievement that nothing can compare to.
"Words cannot even begin to describe how amazing your class has been over the last two weeks! You constructed a course that brought together many complicated ideas into one cohesive course that evaluates empathy. You made class everyday special with the interactive games and your willingness to have a discussion with students! Every day I was excited to go to class because each day expresses a new aspect of psychology and empathy I didn't even know was there. After this course I might even go to the psychology field! I really appreciate that you opened my eyes to interesting and new topics of study I didn't even know existed. Also, I would like to thank you for how supportive you are in class! Many teachers will not give the students a warm smile while they are answering a question. That new level of support made me interested and willing to participate in class! No one would have guessed that this is your first class because you are a fantastic teacher! Thank you for one of the best two weeks of my life! In this case, I didn't even mind going to school!"
"Thank you so much for everything you did for me, the class, and ultimately the world by offering such an amazing class based on empathy. I really learned a lot, not only about the psychological aspects of empathy, but how to live life and pursue success with a definite style. Even though I haven't quite reached a definite conclusion to some of my questions, I believe that by experiencing more outside can help me step closer to the "answers." Xuan, I think you truly are an amazing individual and most definitely a wonderful teacher. It was cool to know that we share some common interests, and reassuring to know that an amazing person like you will be a metaphorical "guid" or "mentor" for a path I want to pursue in the future. You really strengthened my determination to go into the social/cognitive psychology, and I'm so happy that I got to meet someone like you. I really hope that we can continue our mentor-mentee relationship, and that we can meet again later."
"Thank you so much for teaching us the importance of empathy. We all learned so much from your class!
I just wanted to let you know that you did an amazing job teaching. You are so patient, kind, sweet, and empathetic; it made sense to learn about empathy and leading with it from you.
Thanks for really engaging us, getting us interested, and creating an awesome community. The class was so fun and I will never forget the friends I made and lessons I learned from them.
Thanks for inspiring us to take what we've learned back to our communities. This is one of the most valuable gifts you can give the world -- the education + inspiration + creation of socially responsible youth who will make the world a better place. I can say with certainty that if the world had more people like you, people who understand what you understand, the world would be much better.
Thanks for everything, Xuan."
"These past two weeks in your class have truly been incredible. Your kindness is contagious, and I admire your knowledge of cognitive science and psychology. You have inspired me to continue my interest in studying in these fields. Each day in the classroom, I felt I was always engaged by your words, always learning how to use science to understand empathy, and how to use empathy to understand people. Now I see that though I can only view the world through my own eyes, I can use the skills I have learned to make the "imaginative leap" to be a more effective leader in our world. I hope I will never forget these lessons, these people, and these two incredible weeks."
"Thank you for these amazing two weeks. You were definitely the best teacher I ever had! Every day was so different and interesting! What I liked best was the playing section each day! I hope that we'll see each other one day again! If we don't, I wish you all the best for your life! Stay as nice and cool as you are! ;)"
"I am so grateful for all the valuable knowledge that you have passed onto our class. Your joy when teaching passed onto our class! Thank you for all your hard work and dedication. You have made "Leading with Empathy in the 21st century" a truly memorable class!
I am excited to apply all that you have taught me about empathy back home. You have truly made an impact on our lives!"
From the TA:
"Thank you so much for everything you have done over the last couple months! Every class I was so proud of you, and fortunate that I got to work with you! You have taught me, and the other students, so so much, and for that I will be forever thankful! Every student came to class with interest, motivation, and energy! Those characteristics come from the instructor and you did an incredible job finding ways to guide learning and promote investigation. That skill is one that will only grow in strength as your work continues. I remember the first email you sent me! It talked about how you were nervous, but excited about teaching this course. From the first moment in class, I knew it was going to be a great experience, and your nerves seem to disappear! Thanks for giving me so many opportunities to shine and connect with these students. Education is my passion, and thanks for motivating me to fight for that passion! You're the leaf, and we're the ripples!"
"Thank you so much for teaching this class! When I found out this was your first time teaching, I was shocked! You're incredible at presenting, asking questions to interact with us, and overall creating a great learning environment!
The class itself was so fascinating and I really feel I learned a lot! When my mom came to visit, we spent the whole time discussing empathy and everything I learned in the past weeks. That just shows how much impact you have made!"
"Thank you for being a great teacher! You have taught me many life lessons that I will continue to use in life everyday. Taking your class really opened my eyes into the field of psychology, Until now, I never considered taking any psychology class in college. I want to become a computer scientist, and then major in marketing. That field, to me, would never consist of psychology -- I thought it would all be math and science classes. But now, after taking your class, I now understand the importance of psychology and perspective taking in a field that I never thought would consist of classes like this. Your lecture on how to create a bond with another person -- secrets, having things in common, etc. will be things I will use for life. That was one of the first things you taught us, and there are so many other things I will use, from the type of leadership (Goleman), and most importantly what empathy is, and how important it is for a leader to use the right amount of empathy. I loved your excitement, and seeing your smile always brightened my day. I can't wait to play some of the games you taught us with clubs and friends when I get back home. Thank you again for everything, and I wish you the best for your PhD. I hope to read books written by you one day, and be able to say I took a class in 2015 from this amazing lady!"
"Thank you for being a great teacher and teaching such an interesting class. I loved every moment and am going to miss your welcoming smile every day. I thought you did such an amazing job teaching this class and your passion for psychology has really inspired me to want to pursue social psychology. You never failed to show us / teach us new and interesting material, and you were always so prepared for the class lessons! I can't wait to go back home and share with my friends, family and teachers all that I have learned! :) I will, without a doubt, recommend this course to anyone I honestly had such an amazing time at Brown. I found that the people were friendly, the course material was new and stimulating, and you were so kind, welcoming, and caring. I will take away so much of this material and I can't wait to try to apply the methods of leadership and empathy that I have been fortunate enough to be able to learn. Congratulations on teaching your 1st class! Thank you so much for everything!"
"I want to thank you for this wonderful and exciting past two weeks. I have learnt so much from you and I truly appreciate how dedicated you are to us and our topic of study. You have helped me to identify a new level of interest and passion for psychology and the study of empathy. I am so excited to continue exploring all that I have learnt at Brown, in the future. It was such a pleasure to be taught by you and I hope you consider pursuing teaching as a profession because I believe students would be lucky to have you. I hope you have a wonderful and happy rest of the summer. Keep in touch!"
"I have really appreciated the last two weeks with you. You've made all of our classes engaging, fun and an experience I will never forget. Every class that we have had has taught me more about Empathy than I thought I would learn. From the first day of learning the dual meanings of empathy to today taking sides on it, definitely shows your impact on the class growth. Besides being an amazing teacher, you are also comical, friendly, welcoming, and the real reason why the Empathy group is so united. I will miss you and this class very much. I'm glad I came to Brown."
"You are an awesome teacher, always there for us with entertaining classes. I enjoyed a lot all the empathy course. I think it was useful and that I will use this experience for life. When I first started this course I had no expectation, but close to the end you showed me that how cool this course can be."
"From the videos and readings you recommended, I get the a more in-depth exploration of leadership with empathy and get to think more from diverse perspectives. Thank you for giving me a great summer!"
"I'm proud to say you've taught me. Honestly you're one of the best teachers I've ever had."
"You've been an awesome teacher, and I've learned so much about empathy and the human mind. Thank you for being such a kind and empathetic teacher!"
"First off, I would like to thank you for taking the time to teach this class. I know you have a busy life as a PhD student, but you have affected all of us in a positive way.
When our TA first told me that it was your first time teaching, I was shocked. You did a superb job balancing fun with learning as well as staying on task. You taught us well, and of course you were very "empathetic" towards all of us. Honestly, you are a better teacher than the majority of teachers at my school.
Once again, thank you for teaching us over the summer. I'm sure this class will play a small, but very important role in my future."
"As your student, I can confidently say (and I'm sure I'm not the only one who thinks this) that you are a teacher who is loved and appreciated by her class. I learned so much more than I have at any other summer program and I will remember your words far after this camp has ended. Thank you for taking the time out of your summer to teach a class of bright, young students."