I feel like I need some sort of closing post for the past two years, but it seems too overwhelming of a task. How do you sum up in one blog post everything you have learned, all the people you have loved, the many ways you have felt pain, each moment of hope, defeat, energy, exhaustion, happiness, sadness, and so much else.
You cannot. Or at least, I cannot.
I have been thinking about this post for weeks. Trying to grasp in my mind what I could say to wrap my experience up nice and pretty and tie a fancy red bow around it. But I can’t do it.
So, I’ll say this. I have decided to continue teaching. For how long? I don’t know yet. But at least another year. I will be starting as a 12th grade Physics teacher at a high school in Philadelphia, PA this fall. And here are a few reflections on why this is important work to me…
Douglas*, whose mother called me this afternoon for two reasons: 1. to ask if I was returning to Lanier next year 2. to ask me if I would help Douglas look at his college schedule for the fall to make sure he was taking the classes he needed to be on track.
Terrence*, who had to take a semester off from college this past spring, because he could not longer afford it. I pray often that he will return in the fall.
Hannah*, who wrote me a note at the end of her final about how I was her favorite teacher and she was sorry she couldn’t tell me in person, but she was afraid she would cry.
Scarlet*, who brought me a gift on the last day of school of mardi gras beads, fake flowers, and M&Ms : ) and wrote me a card thanking me for caring about her.
Heather*, who is growing into such a wonderful young women, but always sells herself short!
Derrel*, who reads on an elementary school reading level, but when you hand him a hands-on activity, he can show you how truly bright he is!
Amy*, who is moving on to a better place in her life, but learning some lessons the hard way.
Kaymen*, who hopes to be the first in his family to graduate from high school.
My Physics class, all of whom collectively signed my yearbook, “Thanks for making us Physics Geeks”.
All of this barely scrapes the surface of my experience in Mississippi. But it is a small reminder of why I do what I do. It is a tiny reflection on what it means to be a teacher. It is a humble testament to how wonderful our children are.
*All names have been changed.