Saturday, April 2, 2011

To my former students (Class of 2011)

Thinking of you . . . Class of 2011 - Frederick County
This isn’t a review, just a reflection.  It came to my attention recently that a group of my former 7th and 8th graders are graduating this year.  Now, I had been teaching four years already before I even became their teacher, but this still catches me by surprise.  Time really does fly.

I have fond memories from all of my years of teaching (and some not-so-fond, I have to be honest).  There are moments and students I will never forget.  This group, for example, I had for two consecutive years.  I knew they were disappointed at seeing me again as their teacher on that first day of 8th grade, having hoped for someone new.  Starting a school year with a new teacher feels like a fresh start.  As a teacher, I feel that way.  New students, new adventures – more chances to make a difference.  A new teacher, or student, is like a brand new penny.  Shiny and full of possibilities.  But I like to think that they changed their mind by the end of the year.  I know that I did.  For two years I got to see them grow up.  We grew together.  And now, they are graduating from high school.

I wish I could be there to shake each of their hands.  

I wish I could tell them that life goes by quickly and not to take it for granted.  But we all do sometimes.  I, too, need to be reminded. 

I wish I could tell them that they will make mistakes, but that it’s okay.  Because everyone does and they will get through it.  Even when they think they can’t, they can.  Sometimes life has us at the end of our ropes, but we need to tie a knot on the end and hang on for dear life.  Because it is dear.  And we can learn from those moments, even – especially – when they hurt.

I wish I could explain that life will take them on journeys they have never dreamed of.  Some they will be prepared and excited for, some they will not.  Someone keeps telling me that life is all about the journey, but sometimes the journey really sucks and maybe, at times, it’s more about the destination.  And just making it through those tough times.

I wish I could be there for them when reality hits and high school friendships change and fade. Sometimes our greatest, most long-lasting friendships are with the people we least expect.  Sometimes the ones we count on the most, let us down.  But they will meet great people in their lives.

I wish I could be there for their triumphs.  Success means something different to each individual.  I hope they attain success – whatever it may be for them – and that they recognize it, because sometimes we don’t see all that we have achieved and who we have become.  I hope they see themselves and they like what they see.

I wish them love – to be surrounded by friends and family. 

I wish them happiness.

 And I’m sorry I missed watching them become adults.

I wish I could see them now. 

To all of my former students – this class of 2011, congratulations!  You have touched me.  I haven’t forgotten you.  I never will. 

Best wishes in your future!  Continue to touch the lives of others.

I am so proud of you.  

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