Every year we farewell the year 12s with a valedictory dinner and a whole host of other celebrations. Because I teach at a senior secondary school we only have them for 3 years, and I don’t take year 12 classes, so I only ever teach them for 2 years at the most.
But they’re formative, those years. They lay the foundation for an almost unimaginable future. For growth, and change, and becoming someone new. Someone better. Those years together are the start of something significant. For me, at least.
Every class teaches me more than I thought possible. Every student changes me, and helps me grow into a richer, more complex human being.
We are all the sum of our experiences. Of our interactions. The people around us shape us every day.
How lucky am I, then, to be shaped by these extraordinary young people?
From the ones I travelled with, who made me so proud, and looked after me at least as much as I looked after them. To the ones who wrote every program in the craziest way possible.
From the ones who spoke up constantly in class with great enthusiasm, with amazing ideas and fresh perspectives, to the ones who spoke rarely but had extraordinary things to say.
From the one who nailed the subject without ever being able to come to class, to the one who made every function recursive, just to see if he could.
From the ones who pushed me to find a better explanation, to the ones who explained new things to me.
From the one who gave me a sonic screwdriver because he thought I’d looked down lately, to the one who gave me a Dr Who cookbook “because you just had to have it.”
From the ones who coded like maniacs before they ever took my class, to the ones who were meeting code for the first time and rose to the challenge with bravery and brilliance.
From the one who built drones to the one who built amazing websites.
Every one of them changed me, shaped me, and gave me the precious gifts of their attention, their enthusiasm, and their hard work.
We did amazing things together, and they will do far more amazing things without me.
They may not technically have been my students this year, but in my heart they’ll be my students forever. Some will stay in touch, some won’t, but I’ll always remember them. And some day, not too far away, I’ll hear what they’ve achieved and I’ll be as proud then as I am now to say “They are my students, and they’re extraordinary.”