After four years together, I began saying goodbye to my advisory today during our final regular advisory meeting. I shed tears for the first time since September 11, 2001. We ended advisory today as we’ve started each of the 168 weeks of school we’ve shared together, by sharing a ‘Nag’ and a ‘Brag.’ it was the brags that meant the most. Two of my boys who couldn’t have possibly been less mature as ninth graders spoke about their growth into good all around men (my words, not theirs). One student who just joined my advisory this year and has been one of the most challenging students in my school’s history spoke about how he has nothing but love for Bronx Lab because as a school we have never given up on him despite everything he has done wrong in the past four years. My girls, who have largely been wonderful the entire time, shared some great memories as well.
I’ve been thinking a lot about what I have learned from my advisees these past four years. Like most experiences in teaching, I think more than anything they taught me humility. There is so much I wanted for all of them four years ago, some of which was achieved, though most of which was not. I think what they taught me though is that what I want for them is not necessarily that important; my role is rather to help them achieve what they want, while ensuring they keep as many options open as possible.