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What I See

The school year is winding down quickly.

I am preparing to bid farewell to the nearly sixty students who have spent ninety minutes a day with me over the past nine months.

That’s a lot of time for creating memories…moments frozen in time in the slideshows I’ve created for my classes.

This is the part of the year that makes me very emotional.

I’ve watched the slideshows numerous times to make sure I work out the transitions, timing, and music, and I’ve shed a few tears every time!

I wonder what my students will see as they watch the pictures cross the screen.

Will they, in their hyper-sensitive teenage way, see bad hair days or zits, or will they see, as I do, the evolution of what was once a group of strangers who became little families?

A number of things have struck me as I’ve watched the videos.

I’ve seen a transformation of my classroom as my bulletin boards became filled with pictures of my students in the cap and gown setup I always do the first day of school.

I see student work begin to cover the walls, accompanied by anchor charts as each set of skills was honed.

I see students working together collaboratively, proudly presenting their work in front of their peers.

I see postures improve as confidence grows the further along in the year the pictures take us.

I see students’ tables covered in work…students hunched over dictionaries or phones…so engrossed in research that they don’t even notice me taking their pictures.

I see downtime in the form of Scrabble, Uno, or puzzles…or even beach volleyball…minus the sand.

I hear Michael W. Smith singing I Will Be Your Friend as I watch my precious students’ smiles flit across my screen.  Photobombing became an Olympic sport in a couple of my classes!

I also see selfies of me with a few of my students…young ladies who became like daughters to me.  The joy on our faces is reciprocated and real as real comes.

I see an angry young man become one full of joy and sincerity.

As I watch my students’ transformation, I see something else.

My own transformation.

My evolution from a shy, awkward teacher to one who is brimming over with self-awareness, goofiness, and confidence…

Sometimes you can’t measure progress in a number.

Sometimes you need to look around at the things that are happening in the periphery to recognize the strides one is making.

That’s what I see what I look at my students’ faces in the videos and when I see my reflection in the mirror.

It was a year of changes…a year of growth…a year filled with giant leaps forward.

It was an honor to be a part of the journey.

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