Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Stupid Mr. Holland's Opus.

This end of the year is a little bit different than most.  I work in a department with 4 other teachers.  The year I started teaching 9 years ago was the last time that department changed.  9 years in an incredibly long time for a department to stay exactly the same in the teaching world.  But this year it's all changing.

2 teachers are retiring after 37 and 40 years.

40 years in the same building in the exact same classroom. And for at least 30 years, the exact same subjects.

Their entire professional careers are in that room teaching that exact same thing to the exact same age of kids.

And more than anything I have grown to have the upmost respect and love for these two men.  They are the salt of the earth good.  When there is so many shade of grey, they are clear cut black and white.  They are leaders in the church.  They have children and grandchildren.  One even adopted a foster child.  I mean these are good guys.

As the end of the year approaches I don't know if they feel it, but seriously.... I am depressed about how anti-climatic their retirement is.  Don't get me wrong,  myself and others have tried to make it grand.  We had a department dinner one evening, we decided a whole spread in the yearbook for them, and another teacher who grew up in our community reached out on Facebook to get former students to tell stories about these men.  But sadly, only 6 people responded to the request on Facebook.

I am hoping they don't feel disappointed, like their years of dedication and hard work were meaningless.  But it is making me wonder!  On Friday they will lock up their doors, turn in their keys and walk away from 40 years of their life for what?

Just like every other stupid inspirational Education movie, Mr. Holland's Opus has ruined me and every teacher out there.  Why?  Because whether a teacher wants to admit it or not, this is our dream.  We want to think that all the work, all of the patience, all of the time spent working with these smelly, hormonal, lazy punks is worth it.  We want to believe the world is a better place because we were in their lives.  We want to believe that we made their lives and futures better.  Whether a teacher will admit it or not, we all want a Mr. Holland's Opus.  We want to walk into an auditorium full of the thousands of students we taught and walk down the aisles hearing a big warm heartfelt thank you.

I just watched the clip and now I am bawling like a baby.  It is 5:30 in the morning and I am  sobbing.  It's exactly what every teacher wants to feel.  It shows it perfectly.

And I am afraid that both of these men who deserve that kind of auditoriam sized thank you are not going to get it.  I am afraid they are going to just walk around of their classroom one last time and never know the difference they made.

Great, there are exactly 2.5 days left of school and I have got to figure out a way to change it.  I better get to work.  Wish me luck!

I am happy to report I got my partner co-worker an auditoriom filled standing ovation. 
And I bawled like a baby.

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