Every year for the rest of my life

So my year 12s are currently gearing up to sit their HSC. I’ll be spending tomorrow and Thursday with them at school, during the school holidays, doing everything we possibly can to prepare them for these horrific exams.

Every time one of my year 12 groups/tutees sits the HSC it takes me back to what I thought was one of the most stressful times in my life. I felt the weight of the world on my shoulders as I prepared to sit my exams, while my dad was in hospital, my mum was expecting great things and my teachers were reminding me how important these exams were. What is so important to remember, if you’re a HSC student reading this, is that it is most definitely not the be all and end all of your life. If you screw it up, you’ll be ok, I promise.

It’s hard because I have to find the fine line of validating their emotions and stress during this time, while still trying to show them that I survived the HSC and looking back now, it was not a big deal at all. Since losing my mum and my grandma in the space of 7 months, the HSC looks like a walk in the park. Yet every time my kids sit it, I feel just as much pressure as they do, in some cases more which is kind of worrying.

Before their HSC though, comes a great day of celebration and photos, that is their graduation. It’s the time when you can tell them what you really think because lets face it, technically, you’re no longer their teacher. For me, it was a day to make sure they knew how proud I was of them, all of them, well most of them, for becoming awesome and mature young people.

It is a day when they too can tell you how they really feel about you, which isn’t always a good thing. This year though a student said something to me that I will never forget and while it may not be true in the next 6 months, it was true to them at that particular moment and I think that’s enough for me. This student, who had come a long way in the last 2 years that I had known her, we had grown close and been through a lot together, she turned to me and said, “You’re my hero Miss.”

Now to this I replied with “Find a better one.” She assured me “You’re the best one.” I couldn’t believe it. No one had ever said something like that to me, and as I said, even if now it’s not still the case, she felt that, at that moment, I was her hero.

That’s why I keep going to school. That’s why I keep giving 150% of myself to these kids. That’s why we teachers take the crap pay, and the societal beatings, and the media beatings. In the hope that one day, a student will turn to us and say “You’re my hero Miss.”

Sozzle

So I think I updated twice then stopped for a really long time. I get like that you know, sometimes needing to write or wanting to write all the time, other times I really cannot get anything out. I’ve been busy too, being a high school teacher I have very busy periods in my life.

Today was my last English lesson with my year 12s before they go off into the world to be real people. I’m going to miss them and I know a lot of teachers say that but I really am. They’re good people and they have good hearts. Some favourite moments:

  • When Jarod decided to strike a different pose every time I turned my back to write on the board. The last time I turned my back he was up on the window ledge with his hand behind his head and his lips pouting.
  • Oceania dragging a year 9 student over to me when I was on playground duty because the year 9 student had walked away when I asked him to come here. Oceania was holding him by the shoulder and towering over him saying “Do you know who this is? When Miss tells you to come, you come! Do not disrespect Miss like that!” then aside to me “Don’t worry Miss, I got your back.”
  • The HSC performance night when my kids did their music performances and were amazing.
  • Every zero period when they came in late and begged for forgiveness while grabbing the food I supplied for them.

It’s a great feeling being able to be a part of someone’s life like that. I watch them grow, and guide them through a very testing time in their young lives. It’s a big part of why I became a teacher. These kids mean the world to me and come Friday when they graduate, I will be so proud to see them walk down in their gowns, knowing they made it.

There is a lot of times when you question yourself as a teacher and wonder why you even bother when the kids are so disrespectful and so ungrateful, but watching your class graduate from high school, walk down the stairs with their diplomas and hug you, thanking you for everything you’ve done for them definitely reminds you why you deal with all the other crap.