Yesterday afternoon I went to the graduation of the kids that I taught Algebra I my first year of teaching. I taught a few more of them Geometry, and tutored several others the other three years. It was amazing to me how much some of these kids had changed in 5 years, and I’m very glad I went.

One of the kids I tutored a few times (to catch him up when he missed a few days, and to prepare him for the SAT) ended up as valedictorian. Another tutoring student was outgoing SGA president, and she gave a speech. Another tutoring student was the class president, and she gave the opening speech welcoming us all to the graduation and talking about lots of class memories. One I’ve known since she was born got the President’s Award from the school, for being an example of what a student should be. Another I’ve known forever got the Improvement Award, for showing the most academic improvement during his four years of high school. I let out an involuntary squeal when his name was called; he said he heard me. 🙂

As I was sitting there, I realized I graduated from this same school 14 years ago. And if I go back to teaching there, Helen will graduate 15 years from now. Hard to imagine what she’ll look like when she crosses that stage, but I know that all the parents there yesterday watched their kids take tentative first steps, say first words, draw stick figures, stack blocks, and make up their own versions of bedtime stories with the same awestruck pride that I have when I watch my own kids. Time marches on.

At the reception afterwards, I introduced myself to my former students as “Elaine.” Several said, “Oh, COOL!” and several said, “I don’t think I’ll ever be able to call you that, Mrs. P.” I hope that they can.

I’m proud of them all, and it’s neat to think that I had some small part in getting them across that stage yesterday.

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