Wednesday, June 29, 2005

Graduation Love Fest, Part 3

Monday, field day. Normally, we take the kids out to a nearby park for an all-day event. The 6th and 7th graders had not behaved very well during the past week, so we reduced it to just Monday afternoon, in our schoolyard. Eighth graders who came to school on Monday (most did not, having graduated on Saturday) helped run the events. We played class vs. class tug of war, three-legged relay races, and they rotated through stations of push-ups, sit-ups, 50-yard-dash, and hula hooping. The day was oppressively humid, to the point where several of us felt faint by noon, and rumor had it that a teacher from the elementary school below us had fainted. So when a light rain started just as we began field day, no one complained. It felt great! We did all the activities in the drizzle. We ended the day with a whole-school water balloon toss - each child stands opposite a partner. One tosses a water balloon to the other, then they each take a step back, then they toss the balloon again. When the balloon breaks, you are soaking wet and eliminated. It's hilarious, and a better way to do water balloons than just handing them out and saying "go!" We dismissed the kids and then discovered a bunch of leftover balloons: Staff water balloon toss/fight!!!! I left for yoga completely soaked.

Tuesday, the last day of school, a half day, I spent hanging out in Ms. Pascal's room with the 15 or so eighth graders who came in for one last day with friends and teachers (or because their parents made them). I told them since I would soon not be their teacher, I could now pull out all the stops and kick their tails in SET, and that is exactly what I did. It was too humid for Jenga. I told them some of the more gee-whiz stories from Phantoms in the Brain, a terrific book I've been reading about neuroscience. Two of the girls headed for specialized high schools asked if they could see it, and pored over it, giggling, for about twenty minutes. The other kids talked and surfed the internet, showing each other animated cartoons of babies with cats' heads, Michael Jackson singing, a rapping cat, and more. Then they started googling each other, and us, their teachers. I have never been so happy to blog under a pseudonym!

Finally, 11:15 rolled around, we gave them final hugs, and sent them off into the world. I got a huge hug from this boy whose mom passed away - actually, I got huge hugs from him at both graduation and on Tuesday - and I told him to do great things first for himself, second for his family, but third, he'd better make me proud! He wrote in my yearbook, "Thanks for putting up with my laziness." I wanted to collar him and make sure he understood that laziness was not at all my main impression of him. I think he was refering to my decision, at the start of this year, that I could no longer tolerate his never turning in assignments.

It's hard to express how much these kids mean to me.


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