10 June 2009

Seniors are the beast

Today was the last day of class, and for my seniors, the day was a strange combination of exuberance, gratitude, relief and hopelessness. For me, as well.

Since my students took their final exam in class on Monday, they spent today's class writing about and discussing the difference between their post-graduation plans as of September, 2008, and their post-graduation plans as of June, 2009. While many of my students will be attending 4-year colleges, most have decided to stay close to home and attend one of our community colleges. Several students had to change plans because a parent refused to file income tax and therefore could not complete the FAFSA. Several more because a parent, sibling or significant other convinced them not to leave home. Some are reluctantly attending their second or third choice college. Several will be off to basic training in July. Several are attending their first choice college with adequate financial aid. Too many tell me they are still "undecided."

One student totally surprised me with this answer about her college plans:

My plans have changed due to being homeless.

Other parts of the day made me laugh, usually at myself.

A note posted on my wall:
Elizabeth and Katherine will greatly miss there favorite teacher Ms. Huth! Heart U always!

A short conversation at the end of class:
Audrey: I feel like I'm gonna be famous. Miss, when they make a True Hollywood Story about me, you'll agree to be interviewed, right?

Me: Yes, of course.

Susan: She'll say, "Oh, I remember Audrey was always so funny . . . "

James: Naw, remember, Miss Huth will be mad old by then. She'll be like this (in a quavering old woman voice): Oh, that Audrey was always so funny . . . "

Me: What?? Is that me or a very old chicken?


Audrey: That's you, or it will be you!

Later, an overheard bit at the end of another class:
I'm so scared of large bodies of water, you've no idea. That's why I won't go near the Mohawk River. You never know when a whale might come sneaking up.

At the end of the day, I know there are a dozen and a half really bad pictures of me posing with students, pictures they assure me are "really really good." In my head are faded pictures of those who simply stopped coming to school, despite our best efforts to convince them otherwise. I see myself writing good bye and good wishes on shirts and stapled pieces of paper to those who did not have $72 to spend on a yearbook. I see my graduating seniors proudly showing me the cap and gown they paid $27 cash for today. I rather enjoy this picture, however, left on my board today, near the suicide prevention hotline numbers we were directed to post in our rooms.


DuduOmoOniDada said...

I love this post. I sincerely hope you know that you're helping to heal this world. I'd be proud if I were you :)

nfhuth said...

You're very kind, and thank you.