The Sort-of-Scientific Method

Closing the Teach For America Blogging Gap
Jun 20 2013

Moving Up

Day 178: Today was the 6th grade moving up ceremony – aka graduation. Well, that would come at 2 pm. Beforehand was four hours to fill with about 30 minutes of stuff. Students had to write index cards explaining what they would be bringing with them to the 7th grade – think, “Such-and-such is bringing her leadership and ability to work hard to the 7th grade” – and then write letters to themselves that they would be receiving when they graduated high school.

Most students finished these tasks by 10 am. A few had to finish finals or other work, but the large majority had nothing to do. Also, the food for the pre-ceremony banquet was an hour and a half late. Also, we weren’t allowed to go outside. Thus, we all got to enjoy a 3.5-hour indoor recess. Emphasis on the absurdity of my use of the word “enjoy.” You’re not living until you get hit in the head by a student-created paper-and-tape ball because the boys are playing recycling-bin basketball inside.

Anyhow, more importantly, my kids graduated today. I have few memories of this day from last year. As an end-of-my-rope first-year teacher, I was so ready for the end that it’s all a blur. However, I’ll remember today. My kids dressed up in dresses and suits, although some boys have not yet learned that polo shirts are not worn with cargo shorts. Parents and other family members packed the cafeteria, aiming camera and various recording devices at the stage.

Hearing each child’s card read, explaining what they are bringing with them to the upper school, and seeing my students looking grown up and professional, I couldn’t help but be proud of their growth this year. Yes, at times, they were hormonal pains-in-my-butt. Yes, SG managed to look like an idiot crossing the bridge, despite my 12 warnings to make a good first impression on the upper school principal. But we also grew together, and seeing them today, I am confident they are ready for bigger things next year.

At the conclusion of the ceremony, I was waylaid by about 15 parents asking me to take pictures with their children. If I’d been asked by all 100, I would have done it. Each time, I was able to tell students how proud of them I was, and tell their parents that I would miss teaching them. In return, the parents told me how much they appreciated my support for their children over the course of the year.

When I finally made my way back to the classroom, it felt empty – both literally and metaphorically speaking. I’m glad we’ve still got two days. And given how tired I am right now, my mind is blown that I just wrote that previous sentence.

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Experimental Procedures of a Second-Year Teacher

Greater Boston
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