It's our last day together. My seniors get out of school a week earlier than underclassmen. I'll see them periodically as they clean out their lockers, pay their fines, return after graduation practice, and stop in to say goodbye and drop of graduation announcements.
But today is our final time together as a class, so it's special. I want my kids to leave knowing that their lives matter to me. I wan them to be inspired, so today we...
My students have heard me speak many. Even after 33 years teaching, I still get emotional at graduation time. So today, I don't say much, except "thank you." I want to take this last opportunity right before the final exam to say, "Goodbye. I appreciate you. I need you. I am grateful for the opportunity to have taught you, and you have taught me."
I began today's lesson by showing a short video celebrating four years of high school.
The kids briefly comment on similar experiences, although none have ridden a tractor to prom!
Next, I tell my students this: "You live in a world with many problems. We have spent much time talking about those problems and what concerns you. Some of you have plans. Others are still figuring out what the future holds."
I tell students that a student introduced me to the reverse poem "The Lost Generation" and that I want to share it w/ them.
The poem really WOWs students. It gives them a sense of hope, a sense of optimism, a sense of purpose.
I hear "That's cool." and "Can we watch it again?" We do.
I tell students that the poem was written by a 14-year-old boy.
Just before we take the final I say, "You began school with a sense of optimism and a belief that your dreams can come true. Don't let the brick walls stand in your way. Choose to live like an Athenian. Keep in touch. I want to know what the future brings you and about the good things you experience in life. Congratulations. I love you all and will miss you."
As they leave the room, I say "goodbye." I stand at the door and shake hands and hug. I know all the crap about how we're not suppose to do that, but when a student wants a goodbye hug, who am I to say, "no."
We'll do it again at graduation as we celebrate one ending and look forward to the next beginning.