(Update: Picture of the cake is in - many thanks to one of the students)
Walking into class. Feeling sort of quiet. Last day to meet with students, collect their final papers and bid them farewell as I take off for the summer and a new fall college position. Open the door and there they are. Bright and shining faces smiling back at me. On my table a party spread. Brownies, Rice Krispie treats, Frito's, veggies and dip, M&M's and lots of all kinds of pop/soda (?).
In the middle of it all a beautiful white cake frosted with yellow, green and purple flowers, and swirling letters that say: "Good Luck Dr. Jacobson."
"Oh my!" I begin to squeak and squawk and then "ooh and aah" and finally I am yelling. Tears are welling up in my eyes as I look out at all of them. I notice students from different classes are present as well. All have come by to bid me farewell. There is a gift - a card signed by all: "Good luck!" "Best Wishes," "Thank you for everything and a great year," "Congratulations," "We will miss you," and much, much more.
In a different card three students share the greeting and say, " ... But your students will never compare to us ..." I look back at them and think, "Never fear that. Even if I enjoy teaching other students I will always remember you." And I say, "I will never forget you."
The gift is "a little something for [my] new office," a framed piece by Genie Graveline:
Teaching is ... A commitment to instill knowledge in the minds and hearts of all students. It is so much more than just a job. It requires a love of humanity, a belief in the human spirit, a dedication to excellence, and a resolve to make a difference in the lives of others. It is the foundation upon which all forms of progress are based. Those who were destined to teach, spend their lifetimes investing in the dreams of their students, and in so doing, their own dream invariably comes true. To enlighten, to awaken, to inspire all of those, whose lives they touch ... this is their dream!
Yes, dear students of WCU, this is, indeed, my dream, and I think (with excitement and joy) that perhaps it has become yours too. I am so grateful for each and every one of you. Children are going to be so fortunate to have you as their teachers. Good luck to you too. And thank you from deep in my heart.