But there is always the next batch. This year I have 150 new students and I knew eight of them before this year. This is absolutely thrilling. I have no preconceived notions of who they are and they each start with a clean slate, for good or bad. Today is Day Seven of 180 and I still don't know all their names, but it's the middle of fifth period and my 37 kids are currently writing on their own, freshly-created blogs about either love or loss. When I read the entries this weekend, I'll know them a little bit more as people and that will help me as a teacher. In fact, as I watch them create their art right now, I'm learning about them. This process of getting to know my students lasts all year but having them post blogs hastens things.
When my students graduate high school, only a handful keep in touch. The first year away, I get essays emailed to me weekly asking for editing and feedback. But that fades as they year goes on. Messages are common for the first couple months of college but generally by February they're non-existent. This is the nature of things. There have been exceptions, too. I've gone to more than a few weddings of ex-students, as well as baby showers. And a small handful of ex-students have grown into friends as years have passed. So seeing Jose and Shaeny today may have saddened me momentarily, but in reality my sadness was completely outweighed by both my excitement for them and my pride in them. They're ready and they'll enjoy success.
With each graduating class, I feel like I've lost one group of people. But September comes and here is another 150 kids waiting. So for the next 173 days, I will work hard for Mark, Kevin, Zoe, Marley, Thaily, Gerardo, Saj, and the other 143 kids in my charge.