Pam Webb

a writer's journey as a reader

Having a Senior Moment

Today marked the last day and first day for a group of seniors.  As we wrapped up their visual essays that little old epiphany popped up:

“Hey guys, do you realize this is the last class on the last day of your high school career?” I obviously was more impressed with that fact than they were. I offered up the Kleenex box, but no takers. There’s no room for tears when there is cheering going on!

Wanting to capture the moment before they all split in separate directions I said their exit ticket required five memories of AP Senior Literature.  Silly me, I was thinking they might mention any of the following:

  • “I sure appreciate knowing how to properly apply anaphora and polysyndeton when emphasizing my need for repetition and parallelism.”
  • “Having learned the significance of water when reading literature makes me want to run right out and grab a copy of Moby Dick this weekend.”
  • “I wake up in the middle of the night craving yet one more reading of Prufrock’s lovesong.

No. None of that. Instead they popped off these memories:

“Your cow jokes.”

“The story of how you met your husband and made polenta for him.”

“French day. All that bread and cheese and fruit we enjoyed when watching Cyrano de Bergerac.”

Nope. All the labor spent on creating scintillating lesson plans went unnoticed and instead the personal aspects is what became memorable for them.  Lesson learned: The best teaching comes from learning to set aside the plans now and then.

I’ll miss this batch of seniors, we’ve had our share of moments, that’s for sure.  Saturday is graduation and once they leave behind high school I wonder if they’ll take along some new friends with them–Jane, Janie, Lizzie, Darcy…

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3 thoughts on “Having a Senior Moment

  1. I remember the quirks of my HS teachers much better than any part of the curriculum they attempted to teach (and I was an honors student). This takeaway had great value, though; my ability to observe their quirks helped me to become a reasonably good storyteller.

    On an unrelated note, let’s hear a cow joke!

  2. I’m sure your teaching snuck into their brain, and will stick with them longer than they realize, but hey, who doesn’t love a good cow joke?

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