Thursday, June 05, 2008

Time to Say Good-bye, Hello

Well, the magic day has arrived. My classroom is cleared out, keys turned in, report cards placed in the mail, etc. The difficult part was not saying farewell to my peers, because we have numerous options for keeping in touch, and I plan return and do a brief residency for one colleague in the fall when she's out on maternity leave. No, what killed me was the moment one of the last students in the building walked up to me and said, "I now know what I wanted to say to you. I know what I want to do in high school and it is because of you. You have been an inspiration." I choked out a, "Thank you, Sweetie. I needed that today. Take care of yourself and have a good summer." Then I turned away as he walked down the hall, so he wouldn't see the tears in my eyes.

You see, I coach and I teach, solely because I love people and I want people to love themselves and follow their dreams. If nothing else, I can say this year that at least one boy "got it" and believes in his future today.

Now, I said it "killed me" to live through his farewell, and I want to explain that comment. Being motivated in the moment is very different from holding onto that feeling long-term. It can be a terrible struggle to do the things in life we don't want to do while trying to keep our dreams alive. If you focus on the dream, all will be well, but if the struggle reigns supreme, you're sunk, at least temporarily. I wish I could be in that child's mind whenever he begins to feel sunk. I'd throw him a life buoy and yell, "Hang on! Help is on the way!"

So, as I say "good-bye" to my former students, I also ask them to say "hello" to their future, their hopes, their dreams. May they become close allies and may the darkness fade away.

1 comment:

Jennifer said...

Hope you did well on your National Boards! I take mine in about an hour - ahhh!