Sunday, June 9, 2013

Pomp and Circumstance

We're often asked to reflect on our teaching experiences. Yet, never before have I had the chance to reflect like I did yesterday. I spent two hours baking in the sun, thinking about how much impact teachers have on students, how much kids are capable of, and how time passes way too quickly. I thought about all of the changes that have taken place over the past 10 years both personally, professionally, and in the world as a whole. I honestly thought it would simply be a fun experience. Who knew?

Yesterday I went to the high school graduation where I had the honor of watching 14 of my former students receive their diplomas. This wasn't just any class. It was my first class at the school that now feels as much like home as my actual house does. It was the class that I welcomed as itty-bitty first graders and had the privilege of keeping as second graders the following year. In fact, I didn't actually say goodbye to these kids until the summer following 2nd grade when they all came and sang at my wedding.  I finally bid them farewell at the church. Needless to say, they are a very special bunch.

I've seen most of them over the years. They were frequent visitors of my classroom while they remained in elementary school. Later I would bump into them around town. Some have scooped my ice cream, bagged my groceries and even babysat my own kids over the years. I've seen them grow up through Christmas card photos, however, this was the first time I had the opportunity to see them all back in one place (minus three that have moved and one who attended a private high school). 

It was such a great experience. I was surprised by just how much ran through my head during the two hour ceremony. As I said, if ever you want to truly reflect on your teaching, sit through a graduation. 

It was wonderful to see the "end result" of what I started. I loved hearing about their future plans and catching up with their families. Aside from the fact that it made me feel so darn old, it was truly a special experience. 

What is your first class doing these days?

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  1. My first class of kiddos is entering high school, and my first crew of fifth graders is getting old enough to drive and have jobs! I'm not ready for that. :)

  2. That's so awesome! My first class, from when I taught 1st grade in Indiana, are going into 6th grade! I no longer live or work there, so I don't see any of them. My first class of kinders at my current school is going into 4th grade.. I would love to see them graduate high school. What a cool experience!
    Berry Sweet Teaching Treats

  3. I am sure that was such a special moment!!

  4. What a great experience! The first class a taught, which was a kindergarten class, was the graduating class of 2000. I still live in the community and see some of them and/or their parents from time to time. I have even taught two children whose parents were students of mine. Wow! That really makes you think, when you start on the second generation. Thanks for all your great ideas. I love your blog.

  5. That is an awesome experience! I understand feeling old. I taught a 3rd/4th split my first year and they are now 2 and 3 years out of college (providing they went to a 4 year college). I have also had the privilege of staying in touch with kids throughout the years. I just recently went to a high school graduation party where I saw 2 former students. They both were validictorian of their high schools and one received full ride plus a scholarship to study overseas In the future. He wants to attend med school after that. The other is going to the Air Force Academy. Needless to say, I was one proud former teacher.
    Times like these remind me why I chose this profession. Very rewarding!!

  6. My school is Pre-K through 12th. I did a K-1 loop for my 1st 2 years of teaching. My babies are now incoming freshman.

  7. My first class of students are juniors in college. I even have one pursuing an education degree! I'm so proud of them! I love watching the mailbox every spring as it nears graduation time, love receiving those graduation announcements! It's such a special moment every year to watch them cross that stage!


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