The year was a profound learning experience. I learned that relationships are EVERYTHING. As 6th graders, they needed to trust me. They needed time with each other. Friendships were vital - and volatile - as they figured out who they were during a time of tremendous growth and change. They were a MAGNIFICENT group that will always have a huge part of my heart.
|The end-of-year gift|
The last thing I expected was that snap. I replied, saying it made me so happy that she kept my gift all these years.
"It's been on my wall since you gave it to me."
Wow. Just wow. I was so moved. I told her that in my next snap.
"A teacher who cares is not someone you forget."
Even sitting here now, rereading those words has sent me from teary-eyed to the ugly cry. As a new teacher, I didn't really know if I made a difference. I survived. The kids survived. Hopefully I did more good than harm. A more experienced teacher friend told me that it's incredibly moving to have former students come back, get in touch with you, or reach out later in life. You see them again, full of pride, knowing that you played a small role. Now that I'm almost done with my 7th year of teaching, I get that feeling from time to time, when young men and women, who now tower over me, come in for a hug and let me know what they're up to. My teacher friend was right: it's fantastic.
But THIS. This feeling is profound. I've never experienced anything quite like it before. Maybe it's because Jhen is from my first class. Maybe it's because they're graduating next year. But I'm overwhelmed with love, pride, gratitude. I did something right. I cared.