|Photo by: @BethanyLigon (2016)|
I've mentioned before that the district in which I have the privilege of working is small. We have three elementary schools, one junior high and one senior high school. And the town is rich in tradition, one of those traditions being, we still hold a special ceremony for our promoting eighth graders on the high school football field.
As a classroom teacher, driving by the football field on the day that they set the chairs and paint the field, would always stir in me a feeling of relief. Relief that I made it through another year with seventh and eighth graders. Relief with a sense of satisfaction that I had given those 135 students my very best on every single day - I poured my heart and soul into what I did for 180 days. Not every day was a great day, but I never backed off, never gave up, persisted through the tears, and was inspired by the successes.
This is the day that the stress starts to roll off my shoulders. The day when I look forward to soon being a "normal" person, not a teacher who is hyper-aware of every movement and every noise and every bizarre odor within my immediate surroundings.
This day is my personal celebration. Yes, Promotion Day is exciting for the students and their families. But the day before is MY DAY.
This is my first year as something other than a classroom teacher. This year was much different - my responsibilities didn't demand the cat-like reflexes that are standard for every teacher I know. And if I smelt something awful, I could just walk away rather than trying to figure out the source.
The biggest difference, I think, has come from the type of emotional and intellectual connections that I did or rather didn't make with highly emotional 13 and 14 year olds. I have missed that this year. Those students of mine had a way of making me feel the highest of highs and the lowest of lows all in the span of one class period. (That sounds like I am some sort of crazy emotionally unstable adult, but I promise that I'm really OK.) But it was those dynamic days that confirmed that I was making a difference. Now my confirmations come in other ways from often more emotionally stable adults.
Yesterday was our Promotion Day. The principal of the junior high asked if I would still participate in the ceremony and be a line leader as students walked onto the field to take their seats. And as we made our way down the center aisle passing the numbers 2 0 1 6, I got a bit emotional knowing that this promoting class of eighth graders would be my last students. This day was about them and their accomplishments thus far and all that lies before them.
I am happy and excited for them and glad that they have this day because I already had My Favorite Day.