You are officially gone from school now (except for five juniors and one freshman). I don’t need to prepare lesson plans for you or correct your quizzes and tests – instead, I can reflect on our year together. You definitely will not be forgotten!
You helped me to adjust to the new classroom in the new school building. You cheered me up even on my darkest days after not much sleep and on rough mornings. You helped me to understand this new generation of young people – YOU. You made me smile and laugh, and you even challenged me occasionally with tough questions in the classroom. I liked teaching you a lot!
Thank you, Caroline for suggesting we take a photo of the Calculus classes (I waited for the invitation from you, my Precalculus students…). Who are these beautiful people in these photos?
Do you remember that in our first class together I asked you to write down three things you wanted me to know about you? You introduced yourselves in a variety of ways. Here is a glimpse that describes you based on those 3 X 5 green and yellow cards.
Energetic young men and women playing a variety of sports very seriously: five basketball players, five football players, five soccer players, two tennis players, two lacrosse players, one golfer, three cross country runners, two rowers, two swimmers, and one of you plays water polo. There are serious sports fans among you, that young man for example, who knows everything there is to know about golf. Some of you are lawyers or witnesses on the Mock Trial team, a school newspaper editor, yearbook editors, people who love to sing and dance, actors and actresses, piano players, those who love cooking, a girl who one day will be a famous cook and will own a restaurant. A girl who loves Disney, a boy who loves cars and mechanics. Those of you who enjoy being outside, who enjoy hiking and camping and backpacking, and are passionate about traveling. One of you lived in five different states of the USA, one – not a senior – in Paris, another one – not a senior either – in Shanghai. You brought your rich and diverse ethnic heritage (Greek, Dutch, Costa Rican, Native American, Mexican, Indian, and Chinese, just to name a few) to the class of a Hungarian teacher. Some of you are one of three, four, or five siblings, or you are an only child. You are dyslexic, left-handed, have bad eyesight, bad handwriting (yes, it’s true!). You are a vegetarian, your favorite food is squid or sausage and pepperoni pizza, and you are allergic to peanuts. You have pets: dogs named Kenai, Charles, Tiger, Peyton, and a cat named Ben. And there is Ben, the young man, who talks a lot (yes, it’s true!). You have trouble sitting around (you do ballet for the Pacific Northwest Ballet), you are bad at being on time, and you have no free time at all. You have to practice a lot to be good at math, you like group work, you don’t show your work well, you ask a lot of questions, you don’t ask questions, you like math a lot, you are working slowly in math, you like the step-by-step approach to problem solving, you get frustrated and stressed sometimes, you are extremely organized, you are not organized, you are a visual learner, you are bad at spatial reasoning, and you don’t like pop-quizzes.
In the end of the year, you are all of the above and more. You worked hard throughout the year, you learned to like the daily quizzes (at least realized that they were helpful in your learning), you appreciated my work with you (thanks!), you gave me suggestions for next school year (thanks!), you had a great time in my class, but most importantly, you were wonderful, staying true to yourselves (even on bad hair days, after long theatrical performances, or when you lost a tooth).
You – in my two AP Calculus AB classes – are Arthi, Chris, Josh, Michael D, Christian, Navin, Siena, Jonathan, Ben, Angela, Nick, Olivia, Olivia (you know better who is who), Caroline, Andy, Gretta, John, Andrew, Jack S, Victoria, Jane, Meghan, Kathryn, Bailey, Dimitri, Alex, Michael B, Andrew F, Andraya, Katherine, Peter, Alejandra, Nora, Payton, Max, AJ, Nolan, Kyle, Molly, Nate, Samantha, Jack P, Christopher, James, Sam, and Corey. Thanks to all of you for the terrific year!
Thanks to you too, Precalculus students of mine in both classes for your enthusiasm and that you always wanted to become better and better in math: Frances, Patrick B, Claire, Olivia C, Fiona, Colleen, Grace, Megan, Emma H, Sam, Stevie, Emma P, Olivia P, Andrew, Sophia, Sven, Vivika, Nolan, Aaron, Morgan W, Jacob, Tina, Matt, Charlotte, Austin, Monica, Patrick G, Veronica, Corey, Morgan Mc, Connor, Michael, Lauren, Peter, Nick T, and Nick W (plus Eddie). My door is always open for you!
To all of you who are graduating this Friday: it was a wonderful ride; I wish you good luck in college and beyond, and all of the best you can imagine for yourselves. I will treasure my experience and my hope is that we stay in touch.
Finally, some wisdom for you from Steve Jobs for the road ahead: “Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life. Don’t be trapped by dogma — which is living with the results of other people’s thinking. Don’t let the noise of others’ opinions drown out your own inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. They somehow already know what you truly want to become. Everything else is secondary.”
What a great post. I wish I had a teacher like you when I was in high school.
I would have loved to teach you, Huyen.
I loved reading this! A win-win for all of you.