Happy Graduation

by Pamela Felcher
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classroom6.jpg I have taught English for over twenty years and the reading, planning, grading, and yes, the teaching consume much of my waking time from August 28th until June 20th every year.  I have never had children of my own. But I guess you could say, I'm "the village." I have taught about 3200 students in all, ranging from the kids whose mothers clean the homes and care for the children in Santa Monica to the kids in Santa Monica whose moms employ the other moms.

I have taught future lawyers, doctors, rabbis, curators, filmmakers, poets, art historians, scientists, and I have taught future crack addicts, pregnant teens, suicides, and criminals.  I have taught the ambitious and the indolent, the focused and the preoccupied, the optimistic and the pessimistic, the successful and the not so successful.

I draw lines and erase them; I support when its hopeless; I assist and advise constantly; I make them laugh and I make them cry. I hope always to make them better, even when they feel worse for the wear. I hope always to make them stronger, even when they feel too weak to go on. I push back and sometimes shove just as I stand back and let them pass.

graduation_pic.jpg Then every year -- after they fight me from September to December and after they start to see a difference in their thinking and writing from January to March, and after they get increasingly nostalgic about me the minute the calendar turns to April -- it's suddenly June.  I have to bid goodbye to yet another legion of potential lawyers, doctors, painters, drug addicts, housekeepers, writers, computer programmers, social workers, teachers, lab techs, producers, firemen, I could go on. After I hug them at their graduation and tell them to keep in touch and thank their parents for raising such terrific kids and wave the last smiling wave, thick silence pervades the atmosphere but then August comes just as quickly and I start all over again.

So this is just to say, Happy Graduation Day to all you out there! Remember, I am in your corner,
love,
"the village"

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