Today another group of my students finished school. After six too-short years passing though our academy in Carrick-on-Suir they are packing up their bags and memories and heading into the brightness of their young lives (after the darkness of state exams and a summer of waiting for results of course).
Every year I feign coolness at their departure, every year I end up sad to see them go. This year was different though because I wept the whole way through the graduation.
It started with the thank you cards. Some of my English students wrote stuff that would keep me teaching for at least another five dark years. I showed them this the other day and told them exams don’t matter. Well, not exactly, but that you need to a person first and an exam machine after. And I think they listened. I think they’ve been listening all along. And I’m proud.
When we read this by Cavafy and I think they understood. That there are a thousand Ithakas worth sailing to, that there are hundreds of lives to live. And when they left the room they hugged me and said thank you. And I was proud of them and proud of myself.
Today was the graduation and I miss them already. I might cry now thinking about it, but here’s what I learned:
Teacher love their students
Teachers wish, no matter what, that their students turn out okay
Teachers want education to work.
When they threaten education we get upset for our students, we get upset for our schools, we get upset because when you hurt a teacher you hurt her students. When you knock a teachers confidence it hurts his students. And if you don’t take care of education you aren’t taking care of those kids we want to be better people.
I think we’re entitled to a few tears, nobody else is going to cry for us.