New milestones

That attitude thing worked out well for me. The first week back was a good one in spite of a few things. The news staff is running on its remaining cylinders plus one volunteer this month. I’m seeing some renewed vigor.

My new English class seems to be filled with likable kids. I think we’ll have a good run, and I feel like my performances are good  and well received (who says these are not performances?).

The yearbookers came back knowing they were behind on the first deadline, but had the next one coming up nonetheless. They’re working it, and I’m proud of them.

The really interesting thing this week is a phenomenon similar to what I experienced last year – my fourth year. The students who were freshmen when I began teaching  were seniors last year and I knew they’d be graduating and leaving. I spent a good part of last year living in the moment because I had grown so attached to so many of those kids, and they were going on – without me.

So I should have been prepared for something similar, but it took me a bit by surprise. In the space of a week, I heard from three different former students who were juniors or seniors when I started five years ago. Let’s see . . . that would make them about, yes, grown up now.

They’re getting married.

One posted on facebook that she was engaged. She was a junior when I became adviser in 2007.  She began as a contributing writer, which we really needed because the former adviser of one year had run off most of the staff, and I began with only four members. The next year she joined officially. Her younger brother is our web editor now and a good writer/editor in his own right.

Then, in the mail early in the week, I received a Save the Date card from an ’09 senior who, though she wasn’t on staff, she had been in the very bad previous year, and she came in and helped us out some. She was friends with those still in the newsroom, and what’s more, she and her fiancé know my own sons. Loved the card they had made as well. We’re all baseball fanatics. My boys have always played. My oldest is coaching now, as is this young lady’s beau. They wore MLB jerseys, held bats, and in their gloves were baseballs with the date of their wedding marked on them. Cute idea. The date is etched in my mind.

Both bad and good things come in threes – if you look hard enough. I didn’t have to look hard for this one, though. There was certainly an element of irony. That first year, when I began with a staff of four, we had a most awesome leader. He was the best kind: well-liked, respected, had a sense of humor, could break out in song when necessary (“Renegade,” anyone?), but knew how to get people to work, too. “Think independently, Chris.” Anyway (easy to digress when I think of good times, good kids), this week we’d pulled out some older papers to see how we’d done some things, and the issue with a photo of Jason’s car on the front was sitting on my desk. One of my staffers who knew him recognized the car and a conversation about Jason ensued.  Then I heard my phone. It was a text. From Jason. Who I haven’t heard from in over a year. He wanted my address for a wedding invitation.

My babies are growing up.

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About teachjournalism
I am a high school teacher of journalism, technology and reading. I advise the school's newspaper and yearbook, both student-led publications. Documenting and sharing my experiences is a way of reflecting to improve my own work and and inviting commentary so that we might all benefit. I believe, as I tell my students each year, that we all learn from each other.

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