It’s been a hard stretch. These are the days of MCAS, the days of MCAS prep, the days of pre-adolescence angst, the days of recognizing that the school year is coming to an end. I’m seeing behaviors I’ve either never seen before, or that I haven’t seen in a while, I am seeing students gaining on me in height, I’m seeing students getting short with each other and I am seeing students really bonding. I’m witnessing attitudes, witnessing some students checking out, and witnessing the continuous chatting that prevails morning, noon, and afternoon. But despite all of these changes, I am proud. Tonight’s meeting at the Natural Resources Commission was about as good as it gets.
With Math MCAS, reviewing for Science MCAS, and Science MCAS, the 16th snuck up on us. I put out a request for the parents to sign up on the Wiki if their child could attend about ten days ago. Delia Kaye, the Natural Resources Commissioner wrote me a week ago requesting our report by last Friday. In between tests and make-up specials, each group of students got their write-up done and I put it together and sent it out to meet our deadline. Then it was Monday the 14th and time to get our presentation together. 11 had signed up by the Friday deadline, so I broke the presentation up into groups. By the end of the day on Tuesday, two more signed up and needed to be inserted into the presentation. During MCAS on Tuesday, I took all of their powerpoint slides and inserted them into a master power point. Wednesday morning, I had scheduled a practice time. As each child got up, some incredible things happened. They were ad-libbing. They didn’t need to totally read off their scripts. One of them asked me if it was alright if they didn’t go right off the script. “Absolutely” I replied. I was in awe of how these students have grown over the past two years. My two new students in the class got right up there and looked like seasoned veterans as well.
Wednesday night, every one was there right on time, attired “smartly” in professional dress. One student had brought a pointer. They were excited to do this, no nerves at presenting in front of an audience who consisted of their parents, the commission, and other guests. I played “Vanna” and advanced their powerpoint. And they shined. Again. Watching them, my heart swelled once again with pride. Their poise, their passion, their knowledge, their ease in presenting was incredible. They answered questions thoroughly, they spoke clearly, and it was evident that they care about their world.
Leaving the building, I said to one of the parents, “this is as good as it gets. I ought to start playing lottery tickets again as I don’t know how I am going to replace these kids.” It’s been a heck of a ride with these students over the past two years. As one student told me the other day, “I’ve had you for 336 days.” I know that despite some of the behaviors mentioned in the first paragraph, that I am going to cherish the next 23 days with these students. It is about as good as it gets. And yes, I bought that lottery ticket on the way home.