It’s graduation. Finally. One hundred seventy something school days have elapsed and, today, the seniors will be released. I will read four hundred names today, will watch the graduates over the rim of my reading glasses as they strut across the stage.
Good-bye my pretty ones.
I only taught thirty seniors this year. I have done my best to nurture and care for them, have done all I can to teach them information. I have made brilliant and beautiful connections that humble me in their intensity.
One young woman wrote on my board that I was a “great human being.” I have not earned such a title. I didn’t teach her, barely saw her which meant that I rarely had time to speak to her. But she gave me this description. And I don’t deserve it.
She wrote this on my white board. She wrote this on a play-poster given to me because I helped edit the play.
I don’t deserve this.
I love dandelion seeds. I know I have written about this before so feel free to skim this entry or find something of greater interest.
But, I do. I love them. I love the papery fibers that catch the wind and scatter the seeds across the borders that humanity has created but don’t really exist. I love that they mean wishes that don’t require birthdays or special lamps inhabited by friendly demons (look at the origin of genie….I read that they were basically demons or unfriendly spirits).
Now, in order to achieve my wish, I have to blow off all the seeds. And I can’t. But, in the end, I don’t care. The magic is still there.
As a child, I loved running through the alms (grassy meadows in Germany) with my arms outstretched, my hands open wide, and knock the seeds off the dandelion heads. Most likely, I was on a path, but…still….
A plume of dandelion seeds in my wake.
A silvery cloud of wishes drifting behind me.
I can achieve anything….
Today is about the students finally being released from the boundaries of politics and legally required education. Today is about the students leaving behind state-mandated tests and teacher-mandated assignments and bells and announcements and halls with borders. Today, I will let their names slip off my tongue and my voice will echo (which is really disconcerting for introverts like me who loathe using a microphone) around a stadium.
I will smile when I read the names. I learned that smiling while talking means that the voice will sound more cheerful. And this is a day of celebration. A day of setting aside pettiness and cattiness and silly frustrations and just embracing the exhilaration of being a part of a young person’s life and being able to share in this accomplishment.
Tonight, I will come home and pull on my pajamas and grab a cold apple cider and will release the tension that has accumulated over the last month. I will fall asleep and curl under my blanket and will follow dreams that, recently, have been about former students and school and…dolphins.
Yes, dolphins. I don’t understand…but it was wonderful not to have nightmares and instead have dreams about a former student clinging to a dolphin’s dorsal fin and shrieking with laughter.
Those are good dreams. Those are good moments that might only exist in my dream’s landscape, but still lend a brilliance to the rest of the day.
Tomorrow will be my last day with my sophomores. Next week, they will take exams for their non state-tested classes. I will stand in the hallway and will wish them well as they travel from class to class. But, today…
Today is about saying farewell to my seniors….
Hoping they will find the strength to continue dreaming and wishing…
And then running through fields with their arms outstretched, their fingers wide and open, and make the wishes come true.