Today is May 4th and many students and teachers like to reference Star Wars and say, “May the Fourth be with you,” a play on words originating from the phrase “May the Force be with you.” May 4th is a fun day because of this, but it’s also fun because it’s a sign of the end of the year. Palpable energy fills the air as students anticipate the exciting events like attending prom, Senior Grad Night, Senior Breakfast, and of course, graduation!
I don’t always miss the graduating class as a class, but some years do stand out more than others. Some years the kids just mold together in my mind and don’t really distinguish themselves from one another. This year, I am going to miss the class of 2017 because of their personalities. I remember them clearly in my sophomore classes two years ago – they were funny and talented and unique in their individuality. I know I feel differently about the class of 2017 because I remember their names when I see them. They spoke up for themselves, they challenged each other, they approached their work in creative ways.
Maybe it was because of the popularity of Instagram and Snapchat that they developed their personalities in a more concrete way, almost like they were branding themselves.
Maybe it was because I was given the opportunity to have some of these kids for three years in a row based on the pure luck of being assigned 9th, 10th, and 11th grade classes in consecutive years. (I always told those students I was sorry…!)
Or perhaps I was able to use some of the more recent trends in education – the emphasis on group collaboration, passion projects, movement, and classroom design – that I felt that I got to know them more.
I don’t know what the cause might be, but the fact is that I will remember this class and the students this year, and I will miss them terribly when I no longer have the privilege of seeing their smiling faces on campus.
But this is the first year that my students encouraged me to have an Instagram profile, so we’ll see…