Monday, May 16, 2016

Ahhhh, the End of the School Year is in Sight



We only have a week and a half left of the school year. How did this year fly by? This end marks my 35th year in the teaching profession and 25th as a school librarian. Really, how did that happen? Many, many moons ago when my confidence was way lower, I had not a clue if I could make it one more day much less all these years. The people who I have met, all that I have learned and all that I have given to my students over these many, many years, I would not trade with anyone. I am proud to call myself a teacher and a librarian and feel lucky to have a job that I love so much. 

Every year when April draws to a close, I find myself in stress mode with difficulty seeing the light at the end of the tunnel. It is not the library that does it to me, but some of the extra hats that I wear at my school. My school only has 550 students, and unfortunately, I am needed to do some jobs that don't usually fall under the librarian's umbrella. For one, I am the school's AP coordinator. For most of the year, there is little to do. I don't mind. In March, we send out the registration forms for students to complete who plan to take one of the exams. This is an ordeal as students have to decide if they feel prepared to take the exam and can they get credit from their college for the exam. Many colleges and universities want to give their students a placement exam that they create like our state's flagship university does. Then I have to figure out how to schedule proctors for the exams, then administering each exam, and keeping all the exam material safely under lock and key and in good order. On Friday afternoon, I hit the UPS store with our completed AP tests on my way home. Boy, did that feel good.

The 39 graduates with the principal and assistant principal
Then there is graduation. That is my baby. I have been at my school since 2006, and we graduated our first class in 2009. No one stepped up to handle graduation, so I volunteered. That was a no brainer because the classroom teachers were dealing with the end of the year exams and grades. Taking over graduation was something that I could do easily. In 2009, we only had about 300 students in grades 6 through 12, and the library was a lot smaller with a lot less materials to oversee. I also coordinate the senior award night which includes writing the script for the event and making the program. I help the Val and the Sal edit their speeches. I write the script for the graduation ceremony. I make sure all the graduates are in place and ready to roll on the day of the ceremony. The strict timeline and the fact that the students don't always want to cooperate because the end is so near makes all these tasks an ordeal. 

We held our graduation this past Saturday.  As always, it was bittersweet. I am so proud of how the students grew from the naive 6th graders who entered our school seven years ago to the grown ladies and gentleman that they have have grown up to be. There are usually several students who I will miss a wee bit more than the others. That is who I want to talk about today. 

Mark is on the left and Cameron is on the right
These two boys entered Patrick Taylor as 6th graders. The last seven years have been hard work for them. They were not at the top of the class, they were not big readers so not really library kids, and they were not always friends. You can see that they are wearing the gold honor stole that show that they graduated with academic honors. One is going to school in New York, and the other will remain in town for school. Today, I heard Cameron bemoaning the fact that Mark will not be around for him to hang out with. When I mentioned that he could visit us at school, I was told that is not the same at all. I certainly understand that.

Both of these boys are extremely tech savvy. They were not afraid to try a new tool or new technology and would focus on it until they had mastered its workings. This was extremely helpful for me because I would just hand them something and ask them to figure it out and then have them explain it to me. Mark made it his mission to get the televisions around campus working with the program provided by the school board, and he researched diligently to find a tool that would allow us to manage the content on the TVs. His help with this will certainly be long lasting for the school. I often relied on his abilities for problem solving when the system went down. Both of these boys spent many hours in the school's new fabrication lab learning how to use the 3D printers, laser cutter, vinyl cutters, and the other tools. They assisted the teachers who used the lab with their classes, and their help has been immeasurable. I also enjoyed just chatting with both of them. I learned lots about technology and what was popular and what wasn't from them.

Though I will miss them terribly. I feel that they are prepared to begin making their own mark on the world that has nothing to do with Patrick Taylor Academy. That is why it so easy for me to get up every morning at 5:20AM and go to school everyday. Luckily, I have a two and a half months to recharge  before starting it all again. 

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