End of School Year

The end of school this year was unique. Not only was it the end of my time with some great seniors where I teach, but this time, my own oldest child graduated from a different school. How is that possible? I remember the day Alex was born and how I was shaking so badly I could barely hold the video camera steady enough to film Kim holding him. I remember how, when I took him to a preparatory summer class when he was four years old, the teacher had to hold him back because he was so upset I was leaving him. In grade school — first grade, I think, in and OKC school — the teacher told us Alex would raise his hand to answer questions, and his answer was always "hamburger." I recall how he won a dance competition in about fifth grade, showing a wild side he had never, ever before revealed in public. He bounced from the OKC grade school to a school in Ponca City, then to Moore, and I tried to get him to go to the school where I teach this year, but he stayed and graduated with the second class to leave the new Southmoore High School. Needless to say, I’m very proud of him. He’s a fine young man, never been in trouble, and has set a course for his future and is working toward a career he wants.

Alex’s graduation came on the last day of classes where I teach. Alex’s graduating class was about 440 kids. Last summer, I had an offer to teach at Southmoore High, and it was a tough decision. The school is just about five minutes from home, is a brand new facility, and has tons of parent support. Where I teach is at least a 20-minute drive to a building constructed in the 1970s, where I’m lucky to have five parents a night show up at parent/teacher meetings. There are a lot of things I dislike about the district where I teach, such as our pompous superintendent, but, as I watched Alex’s graduation, I couldn’t help but think about the good things where I teach. The Southmoore teachers were seated on the stage; when I go to our graduation tomorrow, I’ll be wearing a robe just like the Southmoore teachers, but I’ll be sitting with the students. Students at Southmoore are surprised to hear how about the close relationships between our students and teachers (not the kind you may have seen on the TV news a few weeks ago!). And the numbers … Our graduating class is just about 150 kids, and I’ll know just about every one of them on some level. I think that’s important.

It was certainly an interesting school year. I think I went to more choir events than sporting events, and there was a time I never would have believed that would happen. It’s the AP influence. Most of my AP class was made up of choir kids, and they are such good kids. And talented! I was actually sad when their production of Beauty and the Beast was finished; I’d gladly go see it several more times. For the first several weeks, it seemed like I just couldn’t bond with my new AP students. They were doing the reading, something I had trouble with last year, but I couldn’t keep discussions on topic and … I don’t know. It seemed like they were a tight group and I was an outsider. Maybe they didn’t trust that I could teach them anything. Now, though … I can’t believe I’m losing them!

There are several other kids I’m going to miss. This graduating class was the freshman class the year I began teacher there. There are only a few kids left from my first classes … Brittany, Kayla, Carman, and a couple of others I won’t name. Lots and lots of others I had as sophomores and will really miss … Amanda, Ciara, Gerald, David … Well, a lot of them.

That said, there are a few I couldn’t push out the door fast enough. Only a few, though.

I didn’t like our new 50-minute class schedule. Especially for the AP class. It limits us to pretty much one activity per day. I much preferred the block schedule with 80-minute classes, and with most core classes only taking a semester. Having Sara at school with me was … a mixed bag. I like having her around, although I apparently mortify her, except when she wants money, but wasn’t thrilled that she used my room as her locker. At the end, she wasn’t even limiting it to my cabinet, but was leaving books and makeup and food all over the room. What I disliked the most, though, was having to pay a babysitter to watch my little kids because the schedule change also included the completely asinine concept of releasing elementary kids before high schoolers. We had a great babysitter, but still, that was money I needed for other things.

Oh, and planning prom … What a nightmare that was! It went off well, though, and I attribute a lot of that to my fantastic co-sponsor, Destiny, who helped out a lot despite being on maternity leave with a beautiful little baby girl. That first long-term sub she had, though … Well, that was the real nightmare.

Well, other than a work day Monday and a couple of days to write some new district tests in July, the school year is over. I hope the kids have a great summer and that the graduates go on to fulfill all their potential … and stay in touch with their old English teacher.

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