Gooey

Every year around this time, there’s only one word I can use to describe my general feeling: gooey.

The seniors have 11 school days before they move on. The juniors, who dominate my teaching load, have just 21. End-of-year activities pile up at a near-daily pace, bringing with them waves of nostalgia of the time I’ve spent with these students.

Tonight I attended a concert of the school’s a capella group. I know almost all the kids–about a third of them are either current or former students. And I sat there, listening to them sing (something I miss terribly) and I just melted. My heart–which has been rather broken the past year in a variety of ways–dissolved into one mass of feel-good love for what I get to see my kids do. And I’m just so proud and humbled by what they choose to do.

After the concert, I walked back to the journalism room, where I fully expected to see an empty, locked room. And instead, I saw some of my newspaper staff working, excited for me to come back so they could show me their work and amazing ideas. And even though the technology can still be frustrating, and I’m simply drowning in papers that need grading, I was buoyed by their excitement. And when one of my editors stopped by–after his baseball game–my cynicism earlier in the day vanished and was replaced with, well, melted-heart gooeyness.

I’m sure this week, as it is our last deadline week, the last week of late nights at school (never past 8, mind you), the last week of watching my first newspaper staff at Bellevue West do something amazing, I will feel all kinds of gooey. This time of year, I tend to be just as awash with love for my students as I am scraping off irritation. It’s a confusing and sublime juxtaposition of emotions that I never cease to be awed by.

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