Well, tomorrow I wrap up another year in the classroom. Twenty-one to be exact and nineteen of them at the same school. Every year my students continue to surprise me.
This past year has been particularly tough, but it seems that no matter what, when it comes down to those last couple of days the emotions really start to surface. The past couple of days have been very interesting and to be honest I think I learned more about my students in the past two days than I did all year.
I showed them a while back how to make movies and slide shows using iMovie on their Apple computers. They ended up shocking me with the amount of talent they really possess. Even the kids that most would consider to be functioning or performing at a lower level came out shining.
I had the impression, based on past behavior and things that had gone on in and out of the classroom, that many of my students did not get along well with one another. Their videos proved me totally wrong. Their photos were wonderful, the message was all about friendship, and they showed for the most part that they had formed a close bond with one another. It really brought tears to my eyes.
So I go into tomorrow searching for a message to give my students to carry into the next year and beyond. I know that the ones who pushed my buttons and put me on the edge much of the year are going to be the ones I worry about and miss the most. I won't leave the building without tears and a bit of sadness tomorrow.
However, I've come to realize that what I do is far important than anything else I can think of besides being a parent. I was contacted tonight by a former track athlete that I had coached. He is now working in education as a dean of students for a Minneapolis school. Our plans are to get together for lunch some afternoon over the summer.
Hearing from former students has really been a pleasure and has made me realize more than ever what an impact teachers can have on their kids. I'm really starting to cherish this and enjoy it. Many of my former students are graduating or have graduated from college, are married and having children and it gives me a great deal of pride to be able to have them share their lives with me.
I'm a very lucky individual to have known so many great kids and now have the opportunity to watch them become adults. What a privilege it is.