Final exams "officially" begin today. However, since our seniors need to have grades calculated a day early, we've been on block schedule for the last two days giving final in the final block of the day. Today we go to the familiar two 2:15 long final periods with a 20 minute break in between, and release at 12:20. (Sigh of relief).
Today is also the day I buy lunch for my advanced class "Digital Dogz" seniors. I have 18 graduating this year, some of whom I have taught every single day of their high school career. It's been my tradition to buy pizza on this day following our "final" period together. I always buy really good pizza, not crappy cheap delivery. But I have to qualify that by explaining that the owner of the "gourmet" pizza shop in town also happens to be my landlord at the moment and always gives me a killer deal. I will spend about three hours with these 18 kids today, and then say goodbye.
I really hate goodbyes. I remember being with my grandmother at the airport when she said goodbye to her sister after a long visit. I saw my grandmother cry for the first and only time ever. Some of you (2) may have read the essay I wrote for The Apple that explained how I laughed at my 4th grade teacher for crying when he said goodbye to us on the last day of school. Poor judgment on my young part. I invest a major portion of my day, and my life, to these young people who then go out into the big-wide-world and I never hear from again.
Facebook helps me keep in touch, or at least monitor some of their good news. And some of my students come back to visit me often. One of my former students is even teaching two of my own children Tae Kwon Do. Two others are currently coaches on campus. Two are at USC and are going to be seniors next year. One of them is at Lucas Arts on an internship this summer. I've sent students to Standford, Yale, and a long list of other great colleges. Many end up in careers related to what I taught them in high school, so I must be doing something right.
Finals are about closure and promotion. Without them we could not justifiably pass our student up to the next rung of their latter, the next plateau of their lives, their next windmill to conquer. If we don't let the current ones move on, then we'll never get a new group to teach, because we can only teach so many at one time. Our students outgrow us and hopefully absorb all that we have to offer. My seniors this year are a hardworking and creative bunch. I will miss them.
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