Over the last month or so, our high-school's National Honor Society had been planning a gathering of faculty and students to show appreciation of, and bid farewell to, the high-school teachers that are leaving. The informal gathering took place after school today at the high-school courtyard. There were food and drinks, and students performed traditional Thai music. Many students, and some faculty, came to say goodbye (even though we'll still see them for another three weeks before exams begin). It was nice to chat with them outside of the classroom.
Each departing teacher was given a book of messages from students they've taught or known. My husband's book was filled from beginning to end with messages of gratitude for him and sadness about his departure. Many students waxed poetic about him and his teaching, telling him he's the best biology teacher they've ever had, how much they appreciate his kindness and sense of humor, and how much they love him. He's touched the lives of so many students and has really been such a positive influence on the students, which is unsurprising, given his easy-going personality, approachability, amazing patience, and dedication to his students.
My students also wrote really nice and sweet messages of appreciation. I was really touched. All the frustrations and aggravations of teaching that I've felt in the past nine months melted away with these expressions of thanks and the knowledge that I've made a difference -- even a small one -- in someone's life. It really makes leaving the profession (again, but I need a break for now) so bittersweet for me.
Some messages from my students:
A few of the many messages for my husband. I love the drawings! Many of the students here are very artistic.