Six of the eight players on Jerome's team were students of mine. I was so proud to see them compete and work so hard to win the game. Mason, Blake and Jake were strong leaders as seniors. Joe, Zach and Eddie made amazing three-point shots and played fantastic defense. I remembered each of them as sixth graders and/or eighth graders in the classroom. Some of whom made me work harder as a teacher, especially when I pushed them past where they wanted to go (remember E&I, Jake and Blake).
I loved sitting in the stands and watching former students walk in. Some students I recognized right away and others I had to think about who they were because they'd changed so much and grown into beautiful young adults. I smiled an extra amount when I saw Reed and Jackson, such fun guys who made my classroom two years ago a zoo (sometimes) and an amazing learning place.
I also reflected on the wonderful students that I have now. Almost daily I tell one (or all) of my classes how much I appreciate them. This past Thursday during 8th period, my 28 students sat quietly and attentively as we talked about how a film version of a story we read, "The Landlady", was different from the text (CCSS RL.8.7 if anyone cares). It was the last period of the day before a four-day weekend! We had a great discussion, and everyone stayed engaged until the bell rang. I couldn't have been happier or more proud.
As a teacher, I believe I am a member of the best profession on earth. Almost daily I see former students who do amazing things. A few weeks ago, I reconnected with Jackie, who graduated from OSU and is a lawyer. I have professional connections with Caroline (a teacher at Thomas) and Allie (a teacher in Hilliard), who work so hard to provide their students with amazing learning opportunities. I love to chat with former students at Kroger or Panera and see how high school is going. I follow several others on Twitter and Instagram.
At times when education seems to be about state report cards and test scores, it is good to remind ourselves that teaching is about the kids. My heart is full this morning with memories and thankfulness for my former students and the 122 students who sit in my classroom every day of the week.