You know... I'm not sure that teaching is like anything else in this world.
I research and plan what I teach and research and plan the strategies and methods that will best convey this information. They come in the door. I show them things. And they usually learn what they decide to learn. I watch them and make some sort of judgement on their progress. And I write some sort of ridiculous number on a paper that goes home to their parents to show how their kids are doing in my class.
But what about the heart of education? Maybe it's not even that. Maybe it's the heart of being human. Each of these lessons made up of minutes of a day go by... nearly unnoticed... just as scheduled... nothing spectacular. And at the end of the year, I find I have a new bunch of beings around me. They are like the beings that I started with. But they are blossoming and turning into incredible, outstanding people. I feel almost as if I was walking down the beach and stopped to fill my hand with sand. Some trickles through my fingers. Some is blown away in the wind. And here I am, at the end of the year, with only grains of sand left in my hand. Only minutes are left of our time together.
So what, now, do I say? Do I bid them farewell without so much as a whisper in their direction? It's not what my heart says. "My dear students"... wait... too impersonal. "Hey, Pipsqueaks! Goombas!" That's better. "If all the time I have on this earth had run out today, what I would want to tell you is that I loved being your teacher. I loved showing you new things. I loved learning new things from you. I want you to know you are amazing. And I want you to know I love you. Not for being a great student. Not for having a great singing voice. Not for what you gave me or what you said to me. But I love you for who you are. All the beautiful parts of your heart that I get to see pouring out of you. And I will not forget you. You are the beat of my heart."