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A right to feel proud

In the beginning of my career I spent 3 years looping with the same students in the South Bronx.  I started with them in the 6th grade.  They were new and so was I.  I followed them into 7th and 8th grade science.  The term for this is looping.  Every mistake I made as a first year teacher looped with me.  Those were definitely the hardest years of my career.  But, by the end of those three years, I felt really invested in those kids and in their lives and futures.

At the beginning of my fourth year I started at a new school in Queens.  This time I was teaching 10th grade science.  We were a new school with few science teachers and I ended up looping with those kids too.  I had many of them through 11th grade chemistry and 12th grade environmental science. I planned their prom and senior trip and cried when they graduated.  I've stayed in touch with some of them and hear about many of them through the grapevine.

These students from both schools are now in their early to mid 20's. They are graduating college, traveling around the world, starting grad school, starting families and careers.  And every time I see what they have accomplished I feel like a proud mama.  I have taught hundreds of kids, maybe more than 1000. And I am proud of the accomplishments of them all. But these particular groups of 200 or so kids young men and women have a special place in my heart. I will always welcome information about their lives and feel proud of their achievements.  I was a part of their lives for such a short amount of time but they have all earned a place in my heart.

I wonder sometimes if I have a right to feel pride in what they have done.  I haven't seen some of them in almost 10 years. Others I haven't heard about since graduation. In the grand scheme of their lives, I played such a small part.  But in my life, they were huge.  They helped to shape me as an educator, and for that I will always be thankful.  They certainly weren't easy on me and thank goodness for that.  I am better for it.

So, SISJ class of 2007 and WJPS class of 2010, go out there and do great things.  Make yourself proud!

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