Prom: A Night of Ending and Possibilities

I love chaperoning prom. After four years of struggles, through the magic of dress and good vibes, students are transformed into the adults we’ve been preparing them to be for an evening. On prom night, everyone is friends regardless of past fights or breakups, united by the desire to have a night they will all remember and cherish for the rest of their lives. Last night, we saw the possible promises that every student contains within. Prom is also the moment when I realize every year that, whether I am ready for it or not, my students are adults who are set to enter our world.

This year’s prom was especially bittersweet. Despite the fantastic news yesterday that there will not be layoffs, which would have decimated my school and potentially even cost me my job, that does very little to help the economic reality of the students I serve, whose families were already struggling before this Great Recession; less than half of our seniors could afford the ticket this year.

Prom also marks the beginning of the end of my time with my advisees who I have worked with the past four years (subscription required, but I have a copy I can share). My advisees have become something akin to family, and like any family, they have given me much to be proud of over these past four years, though also much I’d rather not be associated with. Seven of my advisees will graduate in a few weeks and begin college in fall, including one on a Posse scholarship to Trinity. Four aren’t quite there yet, and I hope to support them in finishing their degrees this summer or next fall, though I don’t know if they’ll make it.

But yesterday also marked a new beginning, our beginning of planning of curriculum for next year. Three years ago, we started a new social studies sequence, that now will switch my junior class from US History to Global History. Since we align our English classes with history, this means two new courses to create for next fall, as I teach two sections of both English and History next year. Yesterday, I met with my planning team for the first time, which is by far the most talented team I have gotten to work with, and might be the strongest humanities team our school has ever had. I couldn’t possibly be more excited to work with them. Much of the reason I restarted blogging was to help me process and reflect on these new curriculum, so the work and thoughts I’ll share here will all be strongly influenced by Chris, Anissa, and Rachel who I hope will also join me online at some point soon.

Right now our curriculum is nothing but a blank page, full of nothing but possibilities. My advisees and other seniors are far from being blank slates, but yesterday I also got to see them as full of nothing but possibility. As eager as I am to create my new curriculum, I’m more excited to watch what my advisees will do with our world, as they create new possibilities perhaps unforeseen by any of us.

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2 thoughts on “Prom: A Night of Ending and Possibilities

  1. I chaperoned last night. And I am exhausted today. Didn’t help that I’d set up Regents Prep for 8:30 this morning, and I had some set up to do…

    But prom is neat. We had one kid there last night who turned 18 at midnight. So we were ready to shoo them out, and they were singing “Happy Birthday” – train of thought jump, I started that story because she’ll be going to Trinity as well.

    It helps mark the end of the year. Next milestone? Graduation itself.

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