Unexpectedly Emotional

It's the first week of school, and it's been truly the best I can remember. I'll write a longer post, maybe tomorrow, about that experience specifically, but I wanted to share about this evening while it was fresh on my mind.

In our district, for our middle school athletes, there is a "Future _________" night for each sport where the middle school athletes get to be introduced at the high school game of the school they feed into. I love it. 

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Tonight, they got to be introduced and run out on the field at the big football stadium, and the teachers at those feeder schools are invited to watch the game in the press box. A whole group from our school went this evening and it was unexpectedly emotional for me. 

Just before halftime, a few of us went down to buy a clever tshirt they were selling, which I think is a great choice, and were swarmed by students. It was overwhelming. My new students who were there were hugging and high-fiving and then there were all the former students who got out of their seats to come give a hug and say hello. 

My eyes got misty at how grown up they all seem now. I mean, many of them are freshmen, so it's only been a summer since I've seen them, but I swear they look like a bunch of 25-year-olds. It was just too much. I loved  being their teacher. Loved it. They are exceptional people, and I had a few moments of bittersweet feelings thinking about how small a part I play in the grand scheme of who they'll become. I get that. And really, it's not about me. But I take such pride in seeing them become these adult people. I mean, you guys, there was a former student of mine  playing in the varsity football game . 

I cant.  

A mom of one of my now-freshmen saw me hugging and chatting with her son, and came down from her seat to stop me a few minutes later to tell me that he'd had homework this week for English where he'd been tasked to write about his previous experiences in English classes. She said he went on and on about me and my class, that she'd taken a picture of what he'd written before he turned it in so that she could email it to me, and that she would send it if I'd like. It was all I could do to hold it together there in the middle of the stadium. I, of course, responded with an, "oh my gosh, I would love that more than you can know." And then hugged her neck and had to walk away. 

I was simultaneously so ridiculously happy to see them all and so sad that I don't get to see them every day anymore.  

I hope they come visit me all the time.