Commencement was this morning, and I've officially made it through my first year as a high school teacher! Not that this was exactly what the ceremony was held to celebrate, of course, but it worked for me.
There are still some bits and bobs to do, some final meetings this week, a final party on Thursday night for the faculty, staff, and administrators, but essentially the work is done.
I spent the afternoon on the couch, reading in the air-conditioning, and then took a two-hour nap. Hmm, maybe I was worn out or something?
Commencement itself (and indeed the whole series of shindigs for the seniors) was interesting, far more like an informal garden party than the ceremonies I've attended as a faculty member or as a student. Partly this is because it's a small class, so there's no need for the efficiency of just getting through the names. Partly it's because the school was started in the late nineteenth century and has all sorts of traditions that date back over 100 years. So there were no academic robes, and the graduates wore white dresses (of their own choosing, so all different) with identical wreaths of flowers in their hair. There was a walk around the campus pond for the graduates at the beginning of the ceremony, and then of the graduates and the faculty at the end of the ceremony. And the entire graduating class sang a song to the families and faculty gathered. Plus the entire graduation series of events was more emotional than any I'd attended, with a real sense of a close-knit cohort that is now being scattered around the country; 18-year-old girls take their friendships seriously! All very sweet. I really enjoyed it.
Plus, I forgot to mention in all of the grading frenzy of this week that I got a stupendously positive first-year review on Tuesday. Highlights included that apparently my "students rave about [my] wealth of knowledge and [my] helpful feedback on written assessments," that I have dealt with a few difficult student cases with "both grace and good sense," and that, altogether, the "students and faculty are incredibly fortunate to work with such a talented scholar and teacher." Haha -- success! Never in all of my years in this career have I had such an unmitigated sensation of achievement and success; it's quite overwhelming and even unsettling, actually.
And now, summer begins!