Ahh, the class of 2012. You’re gone.
A class associated with a busy year; an Olympics, a presidential election, possible Christmas-time apocalypse thanks to the Mayans. And amongst all that, those students we spent four years teaching, training, retraining, and preparing have finally left.
Thanks, you jerks. Now I have to start all over.
How true is this for you? By the time your students become self-reliant, productive, focused, mature, capable, and polished—they up and leave, waving carelessly out the back window as they yell something about ‘college’ and ‘job’ and ‘I’ve graduated.’ And then we start all over. When your day is that of an ag teacher, it’s hard to get it all done right without some really good help. And that just isn’t your student FFA leadership: I’m talking in the classroom, at the land lab (school farm for some of you), out in the shop, or during fairs and other events. With faith in the fact that many people just need the opportunity to succeed and “Doing to Learn” as my mantra, I often place responsibility on student shoulders, and rarely am disappointed. Some other teachers cannot believe the trust left to these young people; I can’t believe I’m doing them any favors by not. Plus I really need the help.
This last class saw some good talent go. Our chapter president was one of the most natural teachers I’ve seen; I had Jerry come in this spring in a couple of my intro classes to teach while I was gone because I knew he could get students where they needed to be by the time I got back. Carlos would show up to help with anything, probably be the last to leave, and do a good job in between. Lana could be put in front of any audience and impress the toughest group. And the list goes on. They have left us down some horsepower.
So, you cranky old seniors from last year, good riddance. Your selfish need to complete high school in four years makes me feel like an NCAA coach; by the time they really come into their own they up and go pro. But the good news is there is hope in the pipeline. We have a solid group of 2013/14ers is in the mix, and we have a large pool of freshmen coming in. This class of 2016 will also have international athletics and politics define their senior year. We just have to get them up to the task. And hopefully their senioritis doesn’t set in when the next round of presidential campaigning begins.
Which will likely be their sophomore year. But let’s not lose hope. Here’s to a great year!
PS - For me, we are just wrapping up in-service so that was the inspiration and theme for the latest Oregon Vocational Agriculture Teachers Association (OVATA) newsletter - the Old Yeller. Check it out at http://www.ovata.org.
READER RESPONSE: Share your experience in starting a new group and saying goodbye to the old every year!