After the Final Bell
At my retirement reception two years ago, a good friend said the days of the week would now contain six Saturdays and a Sunday. I know he was trying to imply that every day would feel like a Saturday, since I would no longer be employed as a secondary school teacher or administrator. But there is one specific day of school I miss the most, the last day.
As a secondary teacher of eleventh grade students, the last day with students meant final exams. As the students finished their exams and turned them in, I could just fill an increasing excitement from the students. They waited until the last person turned in the exam, and they began to talk, and inch closer and closer to the door, ready to bolt at the first sound of the dismissal bell. And that’s the moment I would make my walk to the door, prop it open, and position myself in the doorway. No student would be able to leave my room without a hug, handshake, or a high five from me. These were my kids; I had spent the year with them. I needed to say, “Have a nice summer!” I needed to let them know, “I’ve enjoyed teaching you this year.” They needed to hear, “You are a great young man!” And more than one of them was admonished to “Make good choices. I want to see you back next year!”
Many times, that parting moment at the door of my classroom, was the last time I would see some of my students. Life tends to take families different directions over the summer. Occasionally, parents’ jobs would transfer the family away from our hometown, and the students would start their senior year in a different school. Those parting moments probably stayed with me much longer than they stayed with the students. In fact, it’s those moments at my classroom door that I will be missing today as Lewisville ISD ends another successful school year. If you are a teacher, I need a favor today: stand in your doorway, give your kids a hug or a handshake, and send them off to the summer with some positive, parting words. Your heart will be blessed. I promise.