I’m coming up for a very brief gulp of air before I submerge back into the work. Not only are the teachers swamped with exams and corrections but this past week we’ve also been swept away in the tide of emotions that characterizes the end of the year. This is that special time when we recognize and applaud the creativity, effort and accomplishments of those involved in our educational community. As well, for the graduating students, this is a pivotal moment when they step out of high school and into a more adult world of Cegep where they will put their independent learning skills to good use! Some will find their high school friends with them and others will be challenged to navigate the strange waters of thousands of young people swimming in different directions.
I’m always surprised at the tears I see when they approach this moment. Some students are afraid to step out beyond the comfortable and secure walls that have protected them over these past five years; others are simply sad to leave friends. Honestly though, in this ‘facebook’ day and age, you don’t really leave your friends. The tears are for something else; maybe the ‘carefree youthful days’ or the ‘we’ll never walk this road again’ sentiment. Explanations and motivations of tears aside, I must say that they have made me proud – so very, very proud.
My students have been willing guinea pigs for me this year and have faithfully tried every new learning tool that I brought into the classroom. When they whined, I admonished them to presevere and they did. In the very last anthropology class of the year, the students spent one hour using their new personal learning networks (and without speaking to each other) to construct and collaborate their arguments for a class debate. (One student filmed it and I’ll be posting excerpts of that soon.)
And so it is with great affection and much pride that I bid adieu to these graduating students of 2010. I will never forget their standing ovation during the grad ceremonies. May their learning journeys help them discover the joys of service above self. Congratulations!