I’ve got sunshine on a cloudy day.
– Smokey Robinson and Ronald White
It was how the last class I’ll be teaching for the foreseeable future began.
I cannot think of any better way to wrap up my teaching career at SLA.
I knew I wanted to write about it. In fact, as I started to plan this writing in my head, I began with something like, “I know this isn’t what it’s all about, but…”
I mulled and I mulled and I mulled. There are ciders and wines that have seen less mulling.
My conclusion – this is what it’s all about.
If it weren’t me who walked into that classroom and the video depicted some other unsuspecting teacher being serenaded by his class, I would venture to guess that that teacher had done well. I would watch that poor sot get surprised by his students, turn to you, and tell you he’d done something right. Because all I want in this world is for anyone who hears about them or meets them to realize how wonderful my students are, my instinct was to downplay any role I may have had in inspiring the song.
I frequently reprimand other teachers who denigrate or allow others to denigrate the impact and importance they hold in the classroom. I suppose this means I need to own these things myself as well.
So, I say proudly, moments like these are exactly what public education is all about.
If it’s about creating community, done.
If it’s about being a positive force in the lives of my students, check.
If it’s about building a safe space for children to be silly, yes.
If it’s about nurturing creativity, sure.
If it’s about developing strength and confidence of student voice, roger.
If it’s about helping students see the value of creating authentic moments of support and compassion in the lives of other, alright.
If it’s about staking out a claim within the teaching profession that means seeing every student as completely as possible every day, got it.
If it’s about establishing caring relations with each person in my charge in a way that inspires reciprocity, mission accomplished.
In the last class of my last day, my students gave me something I will always cherish – a reminder that I am loved.