"I hope your dreams take you... to the corners of your smiles, to the highest of your hopes, to the windows of your opportunities, and to the most special places your heart has ever known." ~Anonymous
Last night our school held its annual graduation ceremony...always an overwhelming event. First of all, we graduate about 700 students each year. Miracle of miracles, it only lasts about 90 minutes (yes, really!) and every student gets to walk across the stage and have his/her name read. No speeches, and only 4 big awards given out.
So it doesn't last long.
But it's always a little emotional for me. Once you get past the arriving-two-hours-early-only-to-stand-outside-in-the-sweltering-heat element, and the packed-into-tiny-rows-of-chairs-like-sardines element, it's quite a nice evening.
Really, it is.
I'm caught between being so thrilled to see them graduate and being sad to see them go. Last night's class also managed to add to the mix by giving me a gorgeous and completely thoughtful gift. It's a good thing I was wearing sunglasses when they gave it to me so they couldn't see me tear up (was not going to cry! had spent a good 10 minutes doing my makeup).
And so the end of June always finds me in a melancholy sort of mood. We teachers spend so much time during the year trying to shape our classes, trying to help students learn the curriculum and manage behavior and keep up with grading and in the midst of it all try to form relationships that will help support them as they find their way into the world after they leave us...
And then often they tell us, that of all the things we hope they'll remember, they recall something different altogether. They watch us so closely - they see how we live our lives. They catch us in both our strong and our weak moments, and I think they learn more from watching how we carry ourselves, how we interact with others, how we make decisions and deal with adversity, than many of us realize.
My classroom is empty today, and my heart is sad.