As my 8th year of teaching draws to a close (5 and a half days; but who's counting right?), I am reminded again exactly just why I teach. I wrap my students in love, knowledge, discipline, and humor throughout the year hoping against hope that I am able to impress upon them some life lessons, and how to be a better person in this crazy world. Yes of course I aim to achieve Drum Line glory, but it's more important that I make lasting relationships with these kids and become one of those consistent adult contacts that they can *always* count on.
This group of students supported me more than I know how to express, this year. I will never forget the day that I told "The 5" that it was breast cancer. Even as the words "It's breast cancer" were leaving my lips, I wasn't concerned about me, I was concerned about *them*. I was concerned about what this was going to do to them, their season, their dreams, their year. After the bottom dropped out and the moment of silence passed, they looked at me and said "We got this Mz Stout. We won't let it get you" *tear*.
And they didn't.
Thursday evening we had out percussion banquet (pictures). This is the 6th annual percussion banquet, I believe. This is something that I do just for them. We go to the Chinese buffet to eat, talk, laugh, reminisce, and I had out awards. The awards aren't anything serious, they're more like "personality" awards. "Comic Relief", "Best Smile", "Where's your stuff?", etc...those types of things. Everyone gets one (hand made by me), as well as some other little gifts. I make a speech about each kid as I present them with their award, then we finish eating and go home. Now, I will be perfectly honest and tell you that I have wished each year for my Line to give me a gift in return. I know that is selfish, but it is also the way I was raised. Every single year I was in band/choir/theatre, we gave a gift to our directors at the end of the school year/end of play. I remember chipping in with the cast of "The Wizard of Oz" to buy figurines for Dr. Boyd and Mr. Holly. Roses for Dr. Boyd at the "Fantacular", gifts for Ms. Bear, Mr. Smith, Mrs. Cox, etc...it was what was done, what was expected. It was our, the student's, small way of saying "THANK YOU FOR ALL OF YOUR HARD WORK". If memory serves, I received a gift at the spring concert my first two years, and honestly that was only because I said something to the senior class about getting the head director a gift. Ever since then, nothing. Not that I'm complaining, don't get me wrong. I understand this is a different day and age, and those types of things aren't done much anymore because it's not ingrained in our society anymore to thank those who work hard for you.
But I digress....
This year I was beyond surprised when "The 5", my boys, presented me with the coolest and most heartfelt gift I have *ever* received from students. "The Survivor Award". Not only that, but they put together a picture slideshow for me. Amazing. They are so special too me and I can't wait to rock out their senior year and watch it unfold. So thank you thank you thank you thank you! You all (the *entire* Line) mean the world to me. Thank you for the gifts, the support, the love, laughter, and hard work. I can't wait for summer rehearsals to start and for the new Line to catapult above and beyond the expectations I have set for you. Love you all.