Tuesday, August 18, 2009

An amazing, humbling gift

Today I got one of the most thoughtful, cherished gifts I have ever received as a teacher. In fact, in all my years as a son, student, construction worker, butcher, baker, candlestick maker, and starving unpublished poet, I cannot recall a gift as the one I opened today. Aside from my job as a parent (which I really don't view as a "job" per se, especially since the hours are horrible and the pay is even worse) today's surprise was almost as good as the time my kids cut up my Larry Bird rookie card and put my face where his was (previous incident embellished for dramatic effect--I did that very thing for my OWN father in 1984).

The best part about today's wonderful reward had nothing to do with the hours and hours and dollars and hours of time spent in creating the handmade gift over a course of two years. Neither did it have anything to do with the fact that it was a 30-page book with letters etched into gold-plated papers strewn with diamonds and rubies inlaid around the perimeter of each page (again this is exaggerated, but the fact that everything was hand-typed, as opposed to "typed by the hoof of a team of oxen" and professionally bound in a tightly-wound spiral spine lead me to see the precious jewels nonetheless).

The best part was that the two girls who collected, compiled, and collated the copious amounts of crap considerable content did so not only for ME, but for three of my closest, most respected colleagues. To give such a memorable gift to four different people, with the same covert comprehensiveness as these two girls did, it's amazing that they not only graduated at the very top of their class but made perfect scores on their AP test. If I, myself, had been charged with collecting the "non-critical curricular content" as they, I couldn't have concentrated, much less mastered, what the collection of material was actually trying to convey.

To keep the gift more personal, I will not go into more detail about what it was that was actually given, only to say that it was a book of collected mutual experiences over a span of an intimate academic year (or even two or three!) between awesome students and proud, passionate, pokerfaced teachers: a gem that will survive for posterity and will serve as an amazing, salient, and palpable reminder when times aren't so rosy of why people like the four of us fortunate teachers get into the business to begin with.

I'm proud and humbled to have received such an honorable and amazing gift that I can share with me, myself, I, and my family, and although I will miss the daily interactions with these and all my other amazing former students, I know they will continue to do well and succeed in each and everything they do if only they exert and exhibit a fraction of the effort and enthusiasm they put forth while under my tutelage.

As they each get older, wiser, more experienced, and richer, I only ask that if I'm NOT invited to the eventual wedding, that I am at LEAST invited to be their Facebook friend.


bob s said...

It is times like these that the teaching profession truly becomes one of the great things in life. It is always nice to recieve something from someone for no special reason other than they though enough of you to give it. This is especially true when it comes from a teenager who are not especially known for their consideration of others. I guess it sort of makes up for all those hours of in-service, parent meetings and other bueraucratic bs that seem to overwhelm us most of the time.

kwkorpi said...

Gifts like this can sustain one's career for several years.