Shameless self-promotion comprises my wishes for the Class of 2011.
I've purchased a yearbook each year I've been at my school, and let the kids go crazy writing in it. The third yearbook was placed in my hands this month, and this year as the Senior Class Advisor, I'm really tearing up at some of the stuff that's being written, some of it by the graduating class:
"I hella love you! You were honestly on of the bestest teachers I've ever had! [. . .] Goodbye for now, and I will miss you, have a great summer!"
"I'm happy to say that you were a FUN teacher and I thank you for all the math you packed in my head."
"Hey Miss Crystal I just want to let you know how much I'm going to miss you, a lot! [. . .] It's been fun having you as a teacher and a good friend, you always listened to me when I needed someone to talk to, you always encouraged me to reach my highest dreams. I'll miss you very much and I love you."
(This one moved me to tears.)
". . . You always got me through Algebra with a laugh. Thank you Crystal and I love you so much!"
"Hi Crystal! I honestly think you're the best teacher I've ever had. Not even trying to kiss up or anything. You made math bearable. So for that, I'm going to draw a bear! On a unicycle!"
"Hey Crystal! I wish you the best along your journey as a teacher. You inspired me to go out in my community and strive for social justice!"
(More tears. Bring the sandbags for commencement, there will be floods.)
"Crystal you are a great listener and you're a very good teacher. I always enjoy listening and talking to you. I hope you have a happy fun summer."
Seriously -- a lot of these kids who allow themselves to freely express their emotions will break any and all stereotypes that the media tries to pin on teens. How often do you hear from a 15 year-old that you're a good listener?!??
I remember being 15 or 16 and that all I wanted from an adult was to be listened to. Aside from my immediate family members I can't recall feeling like I was being heard until I was 18, months away from graduating. My Calculus teacher and I were comparing how often we'd moved in our lifetime. He'd moved over 20 years ago to the small town where I graduated from and still didn't feel like he "fit in."
At that point I realized:
a) sometimes you will never fit in; but more importantly
b) it is ok to be a "square peg"
It was that teacher that inspired me to pursue education seriously. As far as I know, he's still teaching Geometry, Calculus, and Physics and making tons of kids laugh, cry, and feel.
Years later I have come to realize that eccentric folk, the ones that didn't fit in or have a huge group of buddies at their fingertips, or the ones that went against the current and took risks and tried something new despite the fact that they were alone in doing so, are the ones that make the world go 'round.
Keep it up, Weirdos! Rock on, Nerds! Follow your dreams and follow my blog, you Dweebs.