They taught me about new shows, new songs, new words, new trends.
They taught me how to add filters to my Snapchat messages.
They taught me that there is ALWAYS time to read another page, another chapter, another book.
They taught me how to play Mafia, and I am now convinced it should be the national sport.
They taught me that hand sanitizer can eat away at your boot’s finish.
They taught me that adding hydrogen peroxide to my dental hygiene is the most magical trick ever invented.
They taught me about Chrome’s AdBlock and have saved me from millions on millions of pop-ups.
They taught me to always carry sunscreen for impromptu games of protagonist versus antagonist volleyball.
They taught me about Thug Notes. (I IMPLORE YOU TO WATCH THEM!)
They taught me that fingers can ACTUALLY GROW BACK. No. Really. SERIOUSLY.
They taught me that you can negotiate literally anything if you say “Pleaaaaaaaasseeee?!” with an earnest question and a cute smile.
They taught me a library of slang no one person should be allowed to hold inside their brain.
They taught me about heartbreak all over again, and made me realize that the people who cause it are the worst.
They taught me that even though no one takes them seriously, they’re smarter and more compassionate than 99% of the world.
They taught me that even though I have no kids, I will pull them back with lioness-like force from trying to jump out my window for comedic effect.
They taught me to commit myself to something 100 percent because doing so means finding joy together.
They taught me to be patient, even when I want to scream.
They taught me that appearances and first impressions can be so deceiving.
They taught me that family who fights for each other can form right under your nose… even if it’s a bit dysfunctional at times.
They taught me that every person has something good inside them, something of value that is worth finding, saving, nurturing.
The taught me that I can simultaneously want to strangle and hug a single person (or a group of people) at once.
They taught me what it means to put someone else before myself, even if that means showing up to work with a running nose and hideous face.
They taught me how to be brave, especially when it comes to being brave enough to be yourself.
They taught me about compassion and just how much every last one of them has within them.
They taught me to be a better person and role model because they need to know that someone out there has their best interest(s) at heart.
They taught me that allies and friends come in the most unexpected places.
They taught me how to take criticism well, even if I’m still working on translating that outside of the classroom.
They taught me how to love unconditionally.
They taught me how to let go.
I’m going to miss every single one of my students. I don’t want to see them leave, but I can’t keep them to myself. The world needs to see how amazing they are. I am so proud of the people they’ve become just in the short span of time I’ve known them, and I really cannot wait to see what happens next. I hope that ten years from now, I still talk to every last one of them.
Congrats, Class of 2014. You made it, and along the way, you made a lost little woman remember how to love again.
Tune in for part 2 tomorrow: What I Can Teach My Students (One Last Time)