Two things happened today. I got to see the 2021 yearbook for the first time and I received the most beautiful note from one of my English seniors as part of her senior project.
Ask any yearbook adviser if they like the current year’s book, and 99% will say no. They’re sick of looking at it, sick of editing it, sick of reading it. I’ve “hated” every book I’ve made with the exception of the 2018 book. I’ll never hate it.
I hate the 2021 book.
To be clear, I don’t really hate it. It’s not my favorite. When I look at it, all I see are the imperfections, the missed deadlines, the stress and anxiety and the toll it took on me to advise a book during COVID.
The staff worked hard all year. As in any normal production situation, some worked much harder than others. Unlike a normal production situation, they ALL worked from home. I had no clear way to monitor progress, get students back on track, help them in-person, etc. I saw them for 90 minutes every other day on Teams. A few came in to work when I begged them. All deadlines were missed this year. The book came in three weeks late. I only see the negatives. I’m sure with time, I’ll be able to appreciate the book. I appreciate the work the students did. I appreciate how hard it was to make a book when nothing that normally happens actually happened. I don’t feel appreciated by the staff, but that’s a story for another day.
I assigned a senior project to my English classes. One component was to write a thank you letter to the teacher who has made the biggest impact on their life. This could be any teacher, from any grade and any school they attended. This was by no means my attempt to fish for compliments.
A student, Hemilly, wrote the letter to me. I know as teachers we’re not supposed to pick favorites. She was my favorite this year.
This year was just so awful. The relationships I thought I would have with my students didn’t happen. I only knew them through a computer screen. I saw foreheads, ceiling fans and initial circles. I didn’t see them or get to know them. I missed actual human interaction. I missed laughter. I missed noise. I missed shushing them. I missed conversations. I missed teaching.
To have a students write something to me meant so much. To feel seen and appreciated was overwhelming. I’m proud to have had her as my student. Always.