Today is the last day of school with students at my school….ending my 21st year in Education. I’m 42 (Christ that’s old), so I’ve spent half of my life in the business of educating young people – and man alive, for a profession that has existed since the beginning of time, it sure as hell has changed. Wowza. Things now just aren’t the same as they used to be, and the game that I play now is hardly similar to the one I started all those years ago. The one constant, however, is the students: kids are kids, regardless of where they are in the world…they are the best part of my job, and thankfully, they are the part that never seems to change. I like that. 🙂
I made a speech at our annual Senior Banquet a few weeks ago – here it is (names and identifiers concealed to protect the identity of the ridiculous):
Congratulations to all of you – I could not be more proud to see you, and your families, here today. As you head out into the world, I know that you will be just fine – you’ve got brains in your head, you’ve got feet in your shoes…you’re going to do great things, I just know it. I will miss seeing you here at *****(our school) — in fact, I told Student A that she was not permitted to graduate as I didn’t want to go through my days without her here. I will miss hearing about water polo from Student B, I’m not sure who I’m going to talk about cats with now that Student C is graduating…and I will really miss Student D telling me to quit working so hard and GO HOME every day! (For the record, I’ve never taken him up on it, but…you just never know, it may happen this week!)
I’m not only going to miss you guys – I am absolutely going to miss your parents. Student C’s parents were the very first family that I met here at our school, after Mr. C told me that he was famous…which, for the record, I believed….until Mrs. C suggested that I not listen to him. I’m going to miss sitting with Mrs. C at PTA meetings and discussing crossword puzzles and everything else under the sun. Good thing she works at a nearby elementary school – that’s definitely close enough to keep playing puzzles together! I know that a good number of you parents in this room probably have me on speed dial, as we’ve had a lot to discuss regarding your children over these last few years. It’s okay if you need to give up my speed dial spot because you need the space for someone else…I get that; but I hope that you won’t lose my number all together, and I hope we will still hear from you from time to time, especially with updates about your kids and how they are doing.
To the Class of 2016, I wish you all the love, luck and happiness in the world…I can’t wait to see all the great things you are going to do. 🙂
This is how I am with students…while I take a hard line when I have to, I approach my dealings with them with a heart full of love and as much patience as I can possibly muster. It’s the only way to keep doing the work that I do, and preserve my sanity – what little bits that I have left.
Here are a couple of notes that I received from the students mentioned above – this is my report card, and let’s me know that I have reached the goals that I set for myself all those years ago, when I got into the Education business:
“I wanted to let you know just how much I value you. My senior year was insanely tough, but you were there every day to support me, find me help, cheer me up, and ensure my success as a student and as an individual. There are too many things I’d like to thank you for to fit in a quick note, but I appreciate you and everything you’ve done more than you’ll ever know.” -STUDENT A
“Without you, nothing in my life right now would be the same. Not only did you save me my junior year, but you helped get me through my senior one, too. Going to 4th pd was the highlight of my day, not only because it was my break in the day, but because I got to talk about cats, capes, and mini dance parties. You always say that I brighten your day – but you also brighten mine. You always saw right through my ‘fake it till you make it’ smile – and you always took care of me. You know me better than any other person at school and I thank you for that. Next year, well, I’m not exactly sure what I am going to do. I will never be able to find another person on this earth who could every replace you. The only thing I know that will keep me separation anxiety at ease is knowing that when I come home, I can have Starbucks dates with you, and we can run around looking stupid with capes on.
Now, the point of this isn’t to be all sentimental, but rather to say thank you. But no matter how many times I could say it. I could never say it enough. Thank you doesn’t even begin to cover how grateful I am towards you. You saved me, and by doing so, you became one of my best friends…and I thank you for that.
Thank you for everything you have done for me. Thank you, thank you, THANK YOU.” -STUDENT C
Pretty great, right? I’ve been feeling pretty down on the job and the education system lately, but these are the things that remind me why I am here. Such great reminders. 🙂