If you are a student and have ever wondered if sending your teacher an end of the semester email or note showing them your thanks and appreciation is worth it … it definitely is!

In the spirit of giving, students staged a surprise Zoom “thank you bomb” for Peace Studies Professor Dr. Jim Brown the last week of the fall 2020 semester. He arrived to see all the cameras off, then the whole class turned on their cameras with each student seen holding a sign expressing their gratitude towards him. The emotional video of Dr. Brown crying as he thanks his students has hit a soft spot around the world. It has been viewed on TikTok more than 35 million times and highlighted on multiple local and national tv news outlets.

Comments left on the post continue to tug on the heart strings. “Aw this is so beautiful, teachers are so precious,” one person commented.

Another said: “Love this. Teachers who put their heart and soul into their teaching deserve the world. This would mean the world to them.”

“I wish I could say I found some type of special, original, or otherwise unique approach that addresses these challenges that might be applicable to lots of situations. But what I did this semester was just what I do every semester. I selected what I thought would be relevant curriculum and tried to present it in an interesting and engaging way. I tend to “check-in” with students to see how they’re feeling, and I think this was more important in this semester of isolation. Also, as always, I had high expectations for my students and tried to treat them in a kind and respectful way,” said Dr. Brown.

“So whether we meet in person, as in a regular non-COVID semester, or on-line, we go through this crucible together and, well it can be pretty emotional. And part of that spilled out on Wednesday during our final class session.”

Soon after Dr. Brown’s video went viral, many other thoughtful gestures throughout Wilkinson College began spreading like wildfire. Similar videos of students and entire classes thanking their professors on their last day of class have been popping up everywhere. These students realize what a challenge it has been, not just for them, but for their professors too. The small but very thoughtful acts can mean the world to the person on the receiving end.

“We all have a special place for him, like he’s easily my favorite teacher,” said Chapman student Lauren Herrle when asked about Dr. Brown. “He just comes to class with such good energy and he is always singing and humming and talking to us throughout the class and checking in and asking how our day was and making sure that everyone’s alright.”

The year 2020 will go down in history as one of the worst years since the Great Depression of the 1930s. Defined by the COVID-19 pandemic, this year has led to global social economic disruptions and worldwide lockdowns. In academia, classes have been moved to online, and overnight, Zoom has become a household name.

Faculty and students across the nation have been struggling with distance learning. The number of students being taught virtually is unprecedented and teachers have discovered teaching online is not easy.

Faculty give to students in so many ways throughout a semester and whether they know it or not, students give just as much back to faculty.