I had my last class today with my HSC English class – the first HSC class I have ever taught, so they are a very special group for me. It was a pretty emotional day (have to admit having a bit of a cry when the bell went, but the dears came and gave me a big group hug which was really very nice of them!)
This is an especially refelctive day for me, not only because they are my first HSC group, but also because it has been ten years since I finished high school myself…this feels like an important milestone. To top it all off, I teach at my old high school, so today really was a trip down memory lane!
So much has happened since I finished high school…people are married (and divorced), some with kids and/or step kids; some people now live and work overseas; some people have drifted apart while others have stayed friends all this time. People have bought houses (some have already sold and rebought), or are saving up to get into the property market, while some are renting (not sure if anyone still lives at home – bound to be some!). Some have struggled (and some continue to struggle) with substance abuse and addiction. Many have experienced problems with mental health at some point. Some went to uni (and some left uni) while others took different paths. One or two have died.
Ten years ago I would have known that all this was going to happen – of course it was all bound to happen – but I could not have imagined what it would feel like to be on the other side. Nothing can really prepare a person, I think, for the constant pressure of adulthood. But the other side of that coin is the independence that comes with adulthood, and for some that is the bigger surprise.
I wonder how “my” students will fare over the next ten years? What joys (and sorrows) will they know? And I also wonder…will anything I have taught them in English help them to get through life?