As I close this chapter of my teaching, I've been looking back and thinking about all the students I've had. As the upper school Latin teacher, I taught the whole 7th and 8th grade for five years; throwing ancient History into the mix, I also taught 6th grade for two years. That's a good number of students whom I've come in contact with! The beauty of teaching at a small private school is that there is time to really explore not just learning, but life. I quickly became known, among my students, as someone who taught life lessons, not just Latin. I'm proud of that label. I want my students to take on the world as strong and moral young women and men. When I think about each and every student I've taught, I can honestly say that I've learned something from each and every one. See, the funny thing about teaching is that you spend more time with these kids than you do with your spouse, or as I later learned, your own kid. These students see you more than they see their family. Your face becomes so familiar to them, your voice so natural for them to hear. As I've written about before, as a teacher, you care so deeply for your students. Your heart stretches and stretches every new school year.
My students have seen me through some of the most crucial times in my life. They met me as a young single woman, and saw me fall in love, get married, and become a mother. They got excited as I planned my wedding, and watched my belly grow every day, bigger and bigger. They saw me on good days, and they saw me on not so good days. They stuck with me through frustrated times, and happy moments. And, as they do every year, they graduated, moved on, and I felt so lucky to have gotten to teach these kids.
Now, that's not to say it's been a cake walk. You, my dear students, have challenged me, for sure. You've questioned me. You've made me think twice, three times, four. You've made me incredibly angry, and yet, amazingly overjoyed. You have bolstered my creativity and made me laugh harder than I ever have before. You've taught me that "love is the desire to have an illusion of a feeling" (thanks, Joey), and that for most kids, their "intention is attention." You've stumbled through declensions, conjugations, translations, and have come out the other side. You have trusted me with your family secrets, your relationship woes, and your academic troubles. We have endured rainy Red Sox games, getting splattered with paint at the Blue Man Group, and dancing in hotel hallways. We have danced as Oompa Loompas, endured 42nd Street, and toughed it out through Hello, Dolly! We have made gingerbread houses, written letters to sick children, and made many, many quilts. We've shopped online (doesn't Forever21 look better on the Smartboard?), picked out wedding dresses, and gone thrift store shopping for costumes. We've discussed marriage, race, politics, alcohol, love, dating, and college. We've prepped for high school, translated Catullus, watched The Truman Show, and many, many episodes of MythQuest. We've developed civilizations, had two minute history presentations, and learned all about sociology and the cultural diffusion of Sesame Street.
You have filled my heart with such joy. Every one of you have truly been a patch on my quilt, and for that, I cannot thank you enough. It has been such a blessing getting to teach you.
Now, as I tend to say, "Bye guys, thanks, see you tomorrow!"