Tuesday, June 27, 2006

this is the end

All my students showed up last Friday for a pizza party. Remember, my students have so many truancies from this year and years past that they all have court records. It was the first day I ever filled out attendance when no one was absent. I checked it twice.

Several people volunteered to bring things, and it truly shocked me when every single one of them followed through. Even Alejandro brought napkins. You have no idea what a huge accomplishment that is. Anyway, it was a great shindig. The kids went all out--not just bringing ice cream, but a huge tub of Neopolitan; not just bringing soda, but root beer for floats and three other 2-liters of assorted sugary flavors; not just 3 bags of chips, but calling home so their moms could drop by an extra bag of hot Cheetos; you get the idea. It was fun.

Although Friday really felt like the last day, today was my last day teaching. Eighth graders are all moving up to high school even though many of them are nowhere near grade level in all subjects. You can only hold a sixteen-year-old with remedial skills back in middle school so long before he turns into a bad influence, a thug, and a dropout. Every once in a while, social promotion makes sense. I'm much more encouraged by the progress some of them have made. Whether emotionally or academically, these kids have grown up a lot. I'm lucky to have a job where I get to see such huge results in very human and profound examples.

Especially given the shooting last week and the drive-by from a few weeks ago, the suicide in early spring and the sudden fatal illness from Christmas vacation, despair hangs thick in the air. It is remarkable to see how resilient these kids are and to triumph in our own tenacity as teachers and administrators. I'm heartened by the positive attitude on campus today. Our staff party rife with silly awards reminded me that I work with talented, dedicated, passionate, and compassionate colleagues. I even walked home with a silly award and a bag of chocolates.

To quote Farmer Hoggett: That'll do.


Blogger James said...

Happy end-of-the-year to you. One of the best things about teaching is that every year you get a chance to make a fresh start and build new beginnings. Have a restful summer. You've certainly earned it.

8:08 AM  
Blogger Notsocranky Yankee said...

That's wonderful! Will you be teaching there again after the baby is born?

My sister's step-daughter (she just got married last weekend)teaches handicapped kids in NY. My sister told me it was amazing to see her there because she is so patient and loving with the children. Her classroom was even chosen for a visit by Hillary Clinton last year.

It's so nice to hear about teachers like you making a big impact on children's lives!

4:55 AM  
Blogger Jessica said...

Thanks and yes. I'm hoping to be approved for a trimester maternity leave, so I'll start again just after Thanksgiving.

6:31 AM  

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