I’m forgoing Friday tabs because it’s been the busiest, craziest, most rewarding week. Wednesday, Geeky Boy turned 18. He’s a full on adult now, though I liken him to Simba living with Timon and Pumba. He’ll have to go off to college to become Simba, the responsible king of pride rock, whatever his own pride rock will be. This has not been an easy year for him or us. We spent the first half of the year rocked by depression, and the second half trying to decide what was still depression-related and what was just typical senior/teenage stubbornness. From what I can tell from Googling, it was mostly the latter. We barely made it through high school, no lie. I could psychoanalyze the crap out of that, but I’ll just leave you with this thought. Your kid is not you, and he or she will do almost everything in their power to prove that, and it will drive you crazy sometimes. Don’t let it. Let them be who they are, even when it worries the crap out of you.
Wednesday was also exam-return day. I had no exam to return, but many of my students came by anyway to talk about stuff. Some wanted to see their grades, but most just wanted to chat. They wanted to talk about next year’s class and what they might do over the summer. I gave one a book and sent her to some fun web sites to check out over the summer. Several gave me hugs. I like them all. They are all very different. It’s a rag-tag group who’ve spent two years with me in Computer Science and are about to spend a third year next year. I had some of this at my previous job at Bryn Mawr, and I’m still connected with many of those students who would come by my office to chat during their off time. But it was a rarity, and college students just don’t need that kind of attention in the same way that high school students do. I see my own kids in them, of course. And I know they’re having their own issues with their parents (see above) and often need a variety of other adults to share their lives with and to look up to and generally spend time with. I take providing that role seriously. And I truly enjoy it. It’s so gratifying to watch these girls, literally grow up. I’ve known a couple of them since 8th grade now. It’s just really cool to watch.
In a similar vein, I saw off a couple of seniors I was close to, one whom I’ve worked with now for 3 years. She, too, had a challenging year, and had some tough decisions to make when it came to college. I think she’s made a fine choice, and I’m excited to see how she does in the coming years. She’s majoring in CS (for now, anyway), and I think she will do well. I was able to spend some time with her in the last couple of weeks, having lunch with her where she now works, and seeing her win awards and graduate. It makes me look forward to next year, when I’ll have 5 seniors who’s spent time in CS. The year after that is my first group of 8th graders I taught. I know nearly the entire class. That’s going to be so weird, but cool.
Today is end of the year faculty meetings. It will be a time recap the year and look forward to the next. It has been an incredibly busy but gratifying year for me. There is, of course, the teaching I do, but I’ve also been working behind the scenes all year with a group of dedicated faculty, to create a 1-to1 laptop program. We’ve created policies, talked about teaching strategies and added tools to create better online learning experiences. We’ve had to present at board and faculty meetings. I’ve also served as co-chair of the Innovative Teaching committee for our accreditation process. And I ran three clubs, wrote programs to do student voting and sort students into mini-courses, and supported faculty in a number of ways. Looking ahead, there’s more of that to come, and this summer, I’ll be running a workshop for CS teachers and giving a presentation at the national conference for CS teachers. Who’d have thought?!
It’s also Geeky Girl’s birthday today, and after the meetings are over, we’re going to do girly things and the whole family is going out to dinner. Last night at the reception for the seniors, Geeky Girl and one of her friends ran into the head of the upper school and asked, “Are we officially 9th graders?” He said, “I’d say you are.” So I get to go through the rocky teen years a second time. It’s going to be quite a ride!
Finally, on Monday, Geeky Boy will officially graduate from high school. I’ll write more about that later. That, too, will be quite a ride.