Two days ago, I wrote a draft of an entry that described, in excruciating detail, the many circumstances (both school- and non-school-related) that have made the past two weeks the most exhausting two weeks of my life. Around the same time, I also uncharacteristically updated my Facebook status with a sampling of those circumstances. Upon further reflection, I realize that nobody likes to read a rant, least of all fellow teachers, many of whom are going through end-of-year struggles and crises of their own. So suffice it to say that it’s been a tough May, but I’m finally starting to see the light at the end of the tunnel. My friend commented with Joshua 1:9 on the aforementioned status update, and I think it’s a stunningly appropriate piece of encouragement for teachers who are currently in the trenches: “Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.”
Before I go, I want to gush a little more about R. (Tired of hearing about him yet?) As I’ve mentioned before, all of the seniors at my school are required to write a 6-7 page research paper and present it to a panel of faculty and community judges at the end of the year. It’s a huge deal, and R (along with every senior in the building) had been obsessing about the presentation for most of fourth quarter. As R’s mentor, having spent hours working on the paper and presentation with him after school, I too felt deeply invested in the project and felt a familiar combination of adrenaline and dread as the big day approached.
That day finally arrived this past Tuesday. It was refreshing and hilarious to see the seniors arrive at school all dressed up, with girls looking professional in blouses and suit pants/skirts, and boys looking awkward in hastily-tied ties and too-big, second-hand dress shoes. R in particular was a sight to behold. I had let him borrow my black tie, but it was in a tangled mess at his neck when I saw him in the morning, so I redid it for him. An hour later, he shuffled into my room, close to tears because the sole of his shoe had separated from the leather, and he was afraid that he would fail his presentation because of lack of “professional attire.” I told him that he’d be fine, but we settled on borrowing a friend’s Converses just to be safe. Then I sent him back to class and assured him that I was proud of him no matter how his presentation went.
That afternoon, he texted me:
“it went really well I wasgona cry cz of my incident lol thx for your help”
I’m going to miss R.