It was my intention to count down the last five days of work, a 5, 4, 3, 2, 1 celebration of all the good things that came along with teaching. But who had time to write? I've been busy teaching, creating finals, grading essays and make-up work, to say nothing of cleaning out my classroom. (Where do I put all this memorabilia? I want to keep forever the notes, cards, drawings and goofy things for my desk kids have made for me over the years. I still have the tiny clay giraffe Diego Salas made for me a dozen years ago.)
So the days have gotten away from me. But then this happened today, which really spurred me on to document some of the wonderfulness:
As part of our regular celebration of poets and poetry, my Honors classes and I watched Dead Poets Society whenever we had a spare twenty minutes here and there. It took the entire year to finish it, but we did.
So today, at the end of Period One, when I collected all their finals and told them they had completed all work for the class (except for those who will still turn in re-writes tomorrow or the next day), there elapsed a second or two of silence. Then Steve got out of his seat, stood upon his desk and said, "O captain, my captain." Another second clicked off, then other students slowly got out of their desks and stood upon them, saying the same thing. By the third "O captain, my captain," I was nearly overwhelmed with emotion.
Pretty sure they have no idea how much I love them. They are amazing and wonderful.
And on Saturday, we had the Journalism banquet. Every year, after we've distributed the final newspaper for the school year, we all gather at a restaurant and share a meal and laugh over the highlights (and lowlights) of the past ten months. We had a particularly wonderful staff this year, with some funny, quirky new kids and of course, the seasoned veterans who make the paper great. Often, I feel like I'm herding cats or standing in a circus ring with a whip and a chair, trying to get the wild beasts to get their stories done. I scolded them a lot this year.
And what did they do in return? They gave me gifts.
They gave me two beautiful bouquets of flowers and a box of chocolates and a Starbucks gift card and an adorable stuffed giraffe—and a picture of me with the entire class that they had just taken two days before. It was mounted in a frame and around the matting they had all written personal notes. The only reason I didn't break down crying was that they'd had me laughing all evening. These, too, are amazing and wonderful kids.
One of the chores I had to do today was to return 36 copies of the freshman literature textbook to the library. They've been in my classroom for a decade. Two of my freshman favorites, Rosa and Denny, just happened to stop by my room after school. When I asked Rosa to help, she and Denny took over the job, pushing a cart over from the library, loading it up, then navigating the unwieldy vessel all the way back to the library.
More amazing and wonderful kids.
What will tomorrow bring?