Every year this post exists. I bid adieu to our current class…my previous crop of students. I teach primarily juniors. I have a sprinkle of seniors. But in their junior years, I spend a lot of time with them. A lot. This class came to me after losing one of their very loved teachers, spending a lot of time with another English teacher that they love dearly. I was essentially an interloper. It scared me and I felt defeated from the beginning. They scared me (Read my 2016-2017 year end wrap up). But I know one thing. My heart and the importance of being authentically myself in the classroom. That is what this class did for me. They gave me confidence to see beyond my own reach because I feel like they had to do that and I got to witness it.
The second and likely most impactful to me as a professional and personally was feeling my own calling and purpose shift and change. The world has been trying to tell me awhile, but I ignored it or just wasn’t picking up on it. I am not even sure I have entirely figured it out. But I am getting there slowly. It isn’t a story I am ready to tell or even have put all together. But I have found a voice I didn’t know I had. Now I just need to articulate it. My dream is bigger than I could ever imagine and it scares me.
I have been making huge strides to answer that calling. HUGE. It is only just beginning and that class and my juniors this year (look for my year in wrap up for 2017-2018 school year in the coming days) will be forever linked to this life change for me. They all have no clue; but one group showed me it is okay to do things that people think you can’t/shouldn’t do and the other encouraged me to see beyond my own strengths to get closer to my purpose and to my faith and see how they are inextricably intertwined for me.
Back to the class of 2018…They were underdogs not of their own making. They were the third “child”, our third class. The class where rules were getting firmly established and a little less guinea pig. They had some ownership, but had to work a bit harder for it. They had to go through the same growing pains as our first two classes, but it was different.
The emotional part and the part that made me proud was watching how they rose to the occasion despite the attention being paid to the others. They just plugged away, did their business and waited. I also got to be there and have a front seat in their junior year when people started taking notice and their stories were being made. I am not saying they didn’t start before then, but that is the cool thing about teaching juniors and seniors. They begin finding their voice, their own purpose and you get to see it. I won’t say I underestimated them because I don’t think as a teacher I could ever underestimate my students (again more on that in my year end wrap up). But some did. They underestimated themselves.
I think what I loved most about this class is the accomplishments and stories in those accomplishments. Most of the accomplishments have stories behind them that very few will actually hear.
Yesterday as they walked across the stage and I thought of those stories my heart literally felt like it could burst. I want to scream how hard they worked and tell their stories. But they aren’t my stories. I am just a tiny piece in a gigantic puzzle.
All I know is I will hear their names again. My love and honor to my students of the class of 2018. Love wins. It always does.