Goodbye Students. Hello Summer.

This is it — the last day of the 2009-2010 school year!  This day completes my 9 years of teaching — yes, that’s 9 years.  When I started in 2001, I intended to teach for a couple of years (maybe three at the most) and then apply to medical school.  It turns out that I’m pretty good at teaching — even though it was (and still is) quite challenging at times.

This morning, our lovely 8th graders arrived at school all dolled up for promotion.  The boys looked sharp and handsome in their suits and tie; the girls looked charming in their colorful Easter dresses.  The few boys with untucked shirts and saggy pants did not get past my door — I made them all step aside, fix themselves to look presentable at promotion.  Do parents really let their kids out of the house looking like slobs for a formal occasion?

Oh, one of my girls showed up looking like a “working” girl.  She wore a stretchy black lacy dress that was extremely short and several sizes too tight.  Her face was caked with make-up and her hair teased so high, it made her seem taller.  Not to mention, she could barely walk in her 4-inch heals!  What the heck!?!   Yeah … it was not pretty.  I took one look at her and quickly handed her my jacket. After a brief scolding from me, I demanded that she wear my jacket for the entire morning.  I’m sure she was pissed but there was NO WAY I was going to let her “working” girl dress grace the stage.  Now, how the hell did she get out of the house looking like that?

Alright, moving on to the more pleasant part of the day …

We had three promotion ceremonies in the gym.  Yeah, three.  Is that a lot or what?  I helped with the first one and my class was in the third one.  I snapped this photo right before I read the names of my promoting students.  The crowd is a bit scary to me — I hate speaking in front of an audience.  I get so nervous that I sound like a babbling idiot.  Luckily, I only had to read their names.

This little guy received the Edward Harris Jr., Middle School Student of the Year Award.  I nominated him for the award and was pleasantly surprised when they announced his name.  And the best part — he had no idea!  No flippin’ idea!  It was great.  He was shocked — he looked a bit confused when everyone around him was cheering him on.  (Ethan, I am so proud of you.  Thank you for being such a wonderful boy.  You are so deserving of this special recognition.)

Kelly (far right) is our school secretary.  Events like these run smoothly because of her.  And the gentleman in the middle is Edward Harris, Jr. — our school namesake.

At the end of each ceremony, the students and parents met on the blacktop for photos.

The few students who made a genuine connection with me searched the blacktop for the lady wearing a ladybug hat for photos.  I can honestly say that I was pretty easy to spot in the crowd.

And then there are a few shy ones who left thoughtful messages and wonderfully creative drawings in my mailbox.  I will cherish this drawing forever — even after I’m old and gray and crippled.

Isn’t it great?  That’s her take on me — her mad science teacher.  Love, love student artwork.  I love that she recorded the date and time she completed the drawing.

With that amusing drawing, I am saying goodbye to this school year.  Goodbye wonderful students.  Goodbye naughty students (I hope you get it together in high school).  Goodbye grading and planning (for now).  Goodbye friends and colleagues.  Goodbye NES requirements.  Goodbye alarm clocks.  Goodbye classroom.  Goodbye morning conversations with Jeanne and Jo.  Goodbye year nine of teaching.  Wooo hooo!

With that said, it is definitely time to welcome summer vacation!

Hello summer.  Hello fun projects + bike rides + hikes.  Hello sunshine (cold weather, it is time for you to go away).  Hello Hawaii.  Hello Utah.  Hello lunch with friends + carefree summer days.  Hello u-pick farms + fresh picked berries + homemade jams + pies.  Hello music in the park + screen on the green.  Hello Music Circus.  Hello new adventures.  I welcome you with open arms.