Last night was an awards night for my Puente students at school, and rather than posting about something home or food related, I want to bask in the glory of the moment and go rogue by talking about the 7-9 job - you know, the one that covers the mortgage. I hope you will humor me.
In case you are not familiar with the Puente Project, it is a program that aims to get mostly first-generation educationally disadvantaged students into college. You can read more about it here: http://www.puente.net/. The beauty of the Puente model is that students stay with their freshmen and sophomore English teacher - that's me - for two years. We become a family, with all the ups and downs that comes with that word. I have seen these kids make unexpected strides in their learning, achieve goals (both academic and not) that they never thought were possible, and weather some seriously tough stuff.
And last night was a culmination of these two years of hard work on all of our parts. It was a celebration of how far they have come, and it marked the end of our time together in the class. I am heartbroken and excited for them at the same time.
It is not often that you get a sense of the impact you make as a teacher, and it's not every day that I feel appreciated. Most days, not getting home or eating dinner till 9 would have left me cranky and wiped out. But right now I feel like every moment of the last two years - every late night spent lesson planning, every essay I graded, every weekend spent working, and every last tear - was worth it.
Here's how I know (besides my heart being full to the brim):
The sweetest flowers that anyone has every given me...from my Puentistas.
Thanks for allowing me to gush about the amazing kids I get to spend my days with! Back tomorrow with some more of what this blog is supposed to be about.