Angela Schwindt — ‘While we try to teach our children all about life, our children teach us what life is all about.’
Yesterday was the day of prom. Having been the form teacher of my class for five years, this meant something special to me.
Before I tell this story, I must say. I am human. I am a teacher. And yesterday my class taught me something.
In my part of Austria it is usual that in the final year each class creates a newspaper with a profile of each student of the class, and of some teachers, too. The team that wrote mine humbled me and called me “class’s mother“, which I take as a compliment, as mother’s are caring and supportive.
Another tradition is the filming of a video of the class, and our video was set in a Casino. We had a lot of fun at the Black Jack table 🙂
Finally, all the students were to prepare a show, usually dance routines, to entertain the audience at the prom evening.
All these traditions culminated yesterday evening and night. Prom. Dresses, hair made up, male-up. Tux and tie, now tie. Vans. 😅 Here I was standing in the spotlight on the stage, reading the names of my students off a screen while they were walking towards the stage (to the OST of GOT, btw 😍 ), when it struck me. I had been part of their path for five years, and see how much they’ve grown. I saw their gowns, their smiles, the security of some young men in their tux, and I was really happy. The stress, the nuisance of being responsible for everything, the pressure of dealing with students and parents and trying to actually teach languages, silly me, seemed so irrelevant in this moment. I knew, all of it had been worth it.
When the last name was said, me and my students held hands and bowed. I was not allowed to leave the stage yet, however. A student of mine, a natural charmer, nervously took the mic and fumbled for his speech, which he had typed on a crumbled piece of paper.
He spoke loudly and clearly in front of about 500 people, and his words seemed real. I was stunned and rendered speechless. He spoke of second and third chances given, of a shoulder to lean on for everyone, of kindness and humour. He spoke of a warm heart and of enthusiasm. He spoke of me, and thanked me in their 26 names.
At that moment, I was too surprised to register the meaning of this. The young man holding his mic in trembling hands was so adorable, and seemed so authentic, as did his words, I nearly lost it and struggled to hold back tears. When they remembered to include my vice form teacher, I could not have been prouder!
I was given a huge bouquet of flowers, and a card, and my favourite nail polish, and beamed at all of them before we left the stage together.
Only later did I realize that I had been given so much more. They had done right by me, and I had done right by them. I have never been happier to be their teacher than in this moment.
(to be continued… )