|Graduation Day. May 30, 2013|
The graduation ceremony held just over a month ago on May 30, 2013 was the perfect capstone to the journey I've shared with the ten 8th grade graduates over the past four years since I came to CAA. I have never experienced a graduation quite like that in all my years of teaching. It was just a truly beautiful, intimate moment in time shared with students, teachers and leadership, parents, family and friends.
I think it might have begun when one of my students, who I call "The Voice," had his heartfelt dedication to his parents, entitled "Mine", read during the tribute to parents. From there the ceremony became more than just, well, a ceremony. It was heartfelt, real, and deeply emotional. There was hardly a dry eye in the room by the time the program was over.
That night marked a special culmination for me too. It was when I think I finally accepted that this really is my passion, my calling. This is what I"m supposed to do with my life and I can think of no better work. For many years I felt that teaching was something I was doing until I could get doing what I really loved. But you know, God gave me the chance to sample some of those other things: making a movie--or TV show technically--or writing a book. And what I found, is that while I loved doing those things, after I'd done them I found I had little interest in pursuing them further. I reflected on this lack of dreams, if you will, in a reflection earlier this year.
But now I get it. I used to think it was just because I was in Saipan, but being here in Columbus and having that same sense of deep reward proves it's not about the location. I used to think I loved the kids but not the work. But now I know that the work is all about the kids and that makes even tedious chores like grading and decorating the classroom (well, maybe not decorating the classroom!) rewarding. All along this is what I've been meant to do. This is my greatest reward, my deepest joy. Lately when people ask me about my job as a teacher, I've found myself saying it's good work. And it really is. For me, it's the best there is. To have a part in the lives of so many young people? To see them grow and shine? To really invest in them, knowing, trusting, believing, and sometimes even seeing it pay off? Who could ask for more?
So even as I bid goodbye to a very special class, I'm looking forward to next school year and another opportunity to do and experience truly good work.