Reflections on a school year

Mark is a nice kid who loves physical activity. He isn’t into sports mind you, he enjoys bikes, unicycles, juggling, stuff like that. I am a bike nerd, so we got along fine. He tried to teach me to ride a unicycle, I fell down. He tried to teach me to juggle, I dropped lots of stuff. But I taught him to be diligent about homework, and in that he succeeded. He likes to write on his clothes, and on the last day asked me to sign the hood of his favorite sweatshirt. With a smirk I wrote “It’s been Beautiful.”

I wrote a letter the newspaper admonishing the town for not supporting it’s school district. They printed it, and the next day a teacher approached me. He is a big burly guy, sports coach and truck driver. He looked me up and down and said “Damn fine letter.” And he walked off.

I started working with Katie occasionally just in the last few months. She just needs somebody to talk to her and keep things from boiling over. She came to me with a story about another student hurting himself and I had to make her report it. She was angry at me after that. We made up, and she was nice to me after that. In the last week of school she asked me if a teacher had given me a pack of letters yet. It was a large envelope full of crayon and marker cards wishing me luck next year. The teacher had, and they were wonderful.
“Well, he didn’t give you mine” she smiled. She pulled out a large card with a drawing of Sasquatch on the front. I read it there, a long tale of how much she would miss me next year and hoping I enjoyed school. Afterwards I thanked her and she started crying. She went on about how she didn’t know what the kids would do next year without me. She gave me a hug and ran off to her next class, tears streaming.

Angel promised me she wouldn’t get arrested over the summer.

Frink is a goofy little redhead kid, smarter than nearly all the other kids yet still managing to fail many classes. He brought in a praying mantis egg in a jar, put in the classroom with a heat lamp and never told the teacher. It hatched before it was noticed by anybody else. Thousands of little praying mantises escaped and wandered the classroom.

A group of teaches decided to grill out one day. I grabbed the beaker tongs and started flipping the brats and hot dogs, pork chops and steaks. I cut a brat open to see if it was cooked through. I wiped the grease off on my pants, the ex-navy teacher asked “You’re from where?”
“It all makes sense”

I met Kenny at camp last year, I nicknamed him Heavy Metal for the week and it stuck. He was the smelly kid and the fat kid, so I decided he needed a hardcore nickname. Halfway through the school year I saw him in the library working on a science project. There was a girl helping him, and flirting with him. Later I pulled him aside.
“She is totally into you man, you gunna do something about it”
He had no idea she was flirting with him. They dated for a few months, and broke up as kids do.

The last day of school I had a visitor. James was a student last year and came back to say hello. He has gone onto bigger and better things, High School namely. I have run into him a few times over the last year, mostly at the grocery store and the coffee house. He wanted to make sure to see me before I left for college. I gave him an e-mail address to get ahold of me, I want to keep tabs on him and his large brain.

As the school left the assembly that marked the end of the school year I saw one of my kids crying. She was standing to the side bawling, just really letting it all out. She didn’t want to leave school, her friends, her teachers. I talked to her for a few minutes and got her to be happy about it. She would have lots of time to have fun with her friends, to play outside, have sleepovers, all that fun stuff. She smiled, gave me a hug and got on her bus.

It was fun, it was painful, it was hard. It’s been beautiful.

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