Sign my yearbook? we used to ask, before our writing was good enough to string together more than our names. I didn’t know what yearbooks were the first time I encountered them in kindergarten, but the kids with older siblings were walking around with markers. Sign my yearbook? Will you sign my yearbook? It was only much later, during middle school and high school, that yearbooks became a place to record thoughts, wishes, memories, and hopes.
Remember me, those scribbled messages begged. Remember me because I will remember you.
I took my senior year of high school yearbook to school my freshman year of college and read it when I felt alone. I have all of my yearbooks from my years of school and I do pull them out every now and then. Growing up, I used to love looking through my parents’ high school yearbooks and laughing at their hair, their clothes, and how their friend groups had remained almost exactly the same.
I’ll miss you writing notes to me in science! A high school friend and I kept in sporadic touch in college and she’s taking my roommate’s spot in our apartment next year. Never would have imagined. Be nice to everyone, because you never know how you’re going to find them later on.
Today is the last class day of the 2012-2013 school year. After today, the girls have a couple weeks of exams, the teachers have a couple weeks of grading, and then summer begins. Normally, this time of year already feels like summer with heat and humidity, but that was last week; this week has been cold and rainy and not in the least bit summery. The weather, however, has not altered students’ off-task behavior over the last few days. Some of them have been counting down to summer since the first day of school! I teach freshmen and juniors, which means I have interacted with every grade in the school at some point. Watching my students grow is one of the most rewarding aspects of what I do.
Put the yearbooks away. We still have learning to do. The teachers used to chastise and we rolled our eyes; now I chastise and my students roll their eyes, sneak yearbooks behind their notebooks, and flip through pages under their desks. Have a great summer! Love you! I’ll miss you! I can’t wait to get to know you better next year.
The last day of school, though, has always been an emotionally turbulent day for me. I’ve always enjoyed school, and still do. My friends and I used to sit around and talk about how excited we were for summer, but we were also awfully nostalgic when we had the last class in a certain room, or of a certain subject, or with a certain teacher. When push came to shove, the last day of school was bittersweet. And by the middle of August, we’d all had enough of our summer jobs and enough of sitting around and were ready to go back to school. School was where our friends were and where our favorite teachers were. Our sports, activities, and clubs were at school; in many ways, school became home and life until our home-school lives were so closely intertwined that when high school ended, we didn’t know who we were supposed to be.
Keep in touch, okay? Good luck in college, you’ll be great! You are one of the nicest people I have ever met. Here’s my number; text me. Summer time, woo!
So today, my students will say goodbye to what has been the norm for the past ten months. When they look back on this year, they’ll remember some teachers, some assignments, some special days, and some experiences. They might remember who they sat next to in each class, or at lunch, or an inside joke with a lost meaning. What will make the biggest difference, though, is not lunch table politics, late homework, or a perfect essay, but the people they meet along the way. Wherever they are, wherever they go, and whoever they become, I wish them all the best.
Will you sign my yearbook?