Thursday, November 12, 2015

Still here, but writing about saying goodbye

Just a quick post to say that I'm still here, still knitting, still baking... just swamped with work and all that.

Last year was a turning point for me. It was a great year: I had just won the highest honor I could win professionally (at least at the local level) and was coasting on the heady high of the knowledge that PEOPLE THOUGHT I WAS GOOD. I taught a lot of students I knew very well (and liked and respected) and taught a class schedule that was close to ideal for me.

And yet... it was also a very tough year for me. The downside to getting to know your students is that they inevitably leave you behind. And I've always felt that you need to celebrate with them and then let them go. Some of them will circle back and become friends or "Facebook friends" or occasional correspondents. Many of them won't, and that has to be OK.

Letting go of the class of 2015 was harder than I'd expected.

There have been other years that were tough on me: 2012 was a rough one (a trio of dearly loved four-year advisees graduated). 2004 was also tough (a pair of brilliant proteges leaving for the Midwest, not to be seen in person again). But when I did the "hug and cry" line after Baccalaureate, last spring, I realized that I knew all but a dozen of the seniors by name, and had taught well over half of them. Three of them, I had taught three times each. I knew their favorite foods. I knew who had broken their hearts. I knew who was likely to drop minus signs and who was likely to put the wrong units on an answer.

Letting go of these seniors has been like clearing out a huge space in my heart and in my head. I'm happy for them. Nearly all of them are thriving in college or in their jobs. They've made new friends, fallen in love, found new passions. But it's a little bittersweet for me, and something inspired me to write about that tonight.

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