Day 158, Thursday, June 4, 2009
Today was a tension-filled day for the 9th graders, because it was final exam day in English class, but for me it was a day of fulfillment. After 157 days of painstaking and sometimes torturous labor, the scholars and I finished the job of being 9th grade English students and teacher, and I felt happy for them and for me. Together we accomplished something this year. I set out some lofty goals in September, and today we all, I think, were able to experience the realization of many of those goals. For one of the few times in my long teaching career, I felt genuine satisfaction as they took their exam – satisfaction that I had prepared them the way I had hoped to prepare them back in September, and that they were entirely ready to do well on the exam. It was a feeling of achievement – a sense that we had actually reached many goals that seemed distant and shadowy nine months ago. Certainly there are also goals that were long since lost sight of, many September resolutions that faded away as the weeks passed, but there’s a strong feeling, too, that I showed more persistence and resolution this year than maybe ever before. We reached the summit of some high-minded and worthy goals today. After 40+ years of teaching, perhaps I finally discovered how to walk a teaching path all the way to the very end, to the very top. It was a good feeling today.