Thursday, June 26, 2008

Pomp and Circumstance

"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...

It's exhausting.

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.


Mom said...

There are not very many professions which allow one to run the gamut of emotions as does teaching.
It may not be the most lucrative choice of jobs, but the fulfillment one feels in helping to shape young people's lives makes up for its shortcomings.
I'm glad you chose this path, "Allie."

Marianne Arkins said...

And THAT is why you're a good teacher.

Amy said...

You're an amazing teacher, Allie. No, I've never taken a class from you, but I can tell, by the way you talk about it, that you're good at it.

You're right, our kids learn so much more by what we do than what we say. I wish more adults recognized that.

windycindy said...

The world need more truly caring professionals like you. My sister was a first grade teacher and she loved it. She is now retired and for quite awhile she missed the children! Congratulations on the gift from your students. Cindi

LaskiGal said...

I so understand how you felt. My last year teaching, before J, I was chosen to greet the students as they collected their diplomas. I was so honored . . . but it was bittersweet to think it was going to be the last time I would see many of them.

All we can do is hope that we've done enough to prepare them . . .

I wrote a post about school conditions last week that showed my classroom and discussed the poor conditions. YET, that was not the point. It reminds me so much of this post.

It is so obvious that you are a wonderful teacher . . . obvious.