Saturday, May 30, 2009
This is the first year I have taught seniors, and though it wasn't surprising that I would cry at their graduation ceremony (given the weepy genetics on both sides of my family), I was surprised at the lingering swirl of emotions that has stayed with me all week. We had our last senior classes weeks ago, as they have been taking a full month of IB exams. We went out to lunch on our last day of class. They were going to take me out, but they forgot to bring enough money to pay for me. But, hey, it was the thought that counts! I have been down to just 14 teaching hours a week (my teaching load was cut in half by their departure), so there has been an emptiness in my classroom. When they finished their IB exams, it is BUPS tradition for the senior class to take their teachers out to dinner at a fancy restaurant. This time, they did pay. :)
The pictures below are from that dinner at The Wall restaurant. Many of the girls had dresses custom made for the occasion; the guys wore expensive tuxes. I felt a little star-struck, like I was at the Oscars. Everyone looked so gorgeous and grown-up!
The graduation ceremony was the following evening. I had to present the Best English Student award for my department to Melis Aker, one of the loveliest students I have ever had. I was quite nervous to speak in front of this audience at such a formal ceremony, but I wrote a little heartfelt speech, and was glad to honor such a great student. Melis was in my homeroom, English class, literary magazine, and helped me with costumes for the school play. I will miss her lots!
The ceremony itself was lovely; all the female teachers were crying in the audience. Lots of slideshows as this graduating class of 30 has been at BUPS since elementary school; they are such a tightknit family. I am super proud of them for surviving the intense IB 12th grade year, and many are going on to topline universities in England, Canada, and the U.S.
Many high school teachers are at the end of their contracts this year, and are moving on to other international schools or moving back home. In fact, just about everyone I spend time with or feel a connection to is moving on. So I am sure that is part of my emotionalism this week. Luckily next year, I will be following all my juniors into their senior year, and have their faces and our relationships to look forward to in September. Next May, I will probably be even weepier, as I will be graduating with them, moving on to whatever is next for me.
Lingering from the graduation ceremony last night:
My job of living beings
Who laugh and smile and
Look me in the eye
Departed from my classroom one last time.
But they remain in the pages on the bookshelf.
They pondered their own Hearts of Darkness,
They read Master Harold and the Boys with donned accents
And shared pregnant silences between the lines
Now their Death Shall Have No Dominion.
We affect each other, humans
Stepping out of "the solitary confinement of our own skins."
In great surges we feel
Because we laughed and smiled
And looked each other in the eye.
It remains in the pages on the bookshelf.