I love all my students, but I am particularly close to this year's eighth grade class. There was only eight of them, and they were all so well behaved and polite. They were just easy. Anything you wanted them to do, they did with energy and smiles. They were just a joy to teach. I looked forward to seeing them every day.
Really, it all started with a mouse. A little mouse named Algernon, whom we read about early in the year. Then it was The Midnight Society. And then -- and THEN -- it was To Kill a Mockingbird. And that was our special year together.
They graduated Wednesday night. The girl who is the valedictorian spoke about a few of her past and present teachers. She spoke about me last and said I taught them that not everything had to be so stressful, and that they should trust their teachers more because we're there to help. And, as if that was not enough, she finished by saying, "Most importantly, she taught us that a book can change your life."
I am STILL crying. And honestly, I might print that on a poster and hang it on my classroom wall. In fact, I absolutely will.
I also received a card from another of my eighth graders. It was one of the most humbling, kind, and longest letters I've ever received. I will forever keep it -- and the contents of it -- for myself, but the P.S. was especially profound. My student told me when she gave me the card that she knew this would be the last thing she'd ever write that I'd read (*sob*) and she knew the last line had to be a great one:
I'll say she succeeded. (And she doesn't know how much of that she owes to Story.) Man. MAN.
I am so proud of this class. They will do so much that is great in their lives. I am sad for me, because they will move on, and I will be back in the same classroom missing them, but I am so happy for them too. I can't wait to see what they'll do.
I feel like God has blessed me so much this year with this job and this calling. I will never know why He gave this to me, but I will forever be grateful to Him.