Thursday, February 19, 2015

Feel the Love - Just don't touch.


A simple note in my mailbox, thanking me for writing a letter of recommendation.  You know your heartstrings will be tugged when the personal note begins with "It's been a long ride, ..."

As I've mentioned before, developing relationships with students is particularly interesting for Teachers of the Gifted.  Certainly the longevity of the multi-year relationship adds to a deeper personal connection, and often gifted kids would, quite frankly, rather hang out and talk to teachers and other adults, than their same-age peers, simply because of their level of intellect or diverse, often more adult, interests.

Don't get me wrong, VENSPIRED.COM is right -- without my students, well, I guess I wouldn't be a teacher.  And it's darned easy to fall in love with anyone that lifts you up with amazing and inspiring affirmations on a daily basis.

How can we demonstrate love while maintaining healthy (legal) boundaries? Share a favorite memory or story.

After sixteen years, it's darned hard to share a single favorite memory or story.  So, instead, I'll share this week's encounter.  

Our district is fortunate to have a College Adviser who is paid under the Pennsylvania College Advising Corps,   and through grants.  This is the first year that our adviser is in our building full-time, and the work that Brady is doing is phenomenal.  A recent graduate from Franklin and Marshall, he relates really well to the juniors and seniors with whom he works, and is truly pushing each and every student to examine their full potential, and take risks, (you know how I LOVE THAT!), applying to "Reach" colleges.  


On Tuesday I stopped by Brady's office to drop something off.  He had that sparkle in his eye, and asked if I had heard from a particular student.

"No....??"

" (Student Name) was accepted at Dickinson!!!"  The financial package is amazing, and this is a huge accomplishment for a student I've had for the better part of a decade.  I was so excited for him, I was practically in tears.

Almost as if on cue, the student appeared in the doorway.  The first thing out of my mouth?

"Is it okay if I hug you?"

Fortunately, he said yes, and we had a great time celebrating.

Ten years ago, I'm not sure I would have asked a kid, if I were in the same situation.  Today's protocols certainly warrant asking.  I often contend that the longevity of my relationships with my students gives me a little more leeway than single-year teachers might have.

Oh, one other demonstration of love, by the majority of the teachers in my district.  On graduation night, the teachers process, in full regalia, to encircle the graduates during the ceremony.   The last official sendoff for every single graduate is a standing ovation, in the form of two lines of teachers, applauding the graduates as they leave the field, prepared to toss their caps.

Most of us crying as if our very own children have graduated. 

And in many ways they have, and do, every single year.