May 6, 2013 by Kylee Ponder
I have three magical days left of student teaching. Three days left to get in all of the hugs that I can. Three days left to gaze over the shoulders of second graders as they complete their morning handwriting practice. Three days left to see their eyes light up when they walk in the room and I greet them with a “Good Morning” and a smile. Three days left of excited whispers in the hallway when I walk by on my way to observe other teachers. Three days left to beg, borrow and steal all of the incredible ideas from other teachers at my school. And most importantly, three days left to watch my sweet 20 kiddos sit on the edge of their seats as I sit in my director’s chair with a class microphone around my neck reading the last 50 pages of Charlotte’s Web.
I didn’t plan it this way – to be finishing Charlotte’s Web on the last day of student teaching. I started the book and hoped we’d be finished with it already. But with standardized benchmark testing, PALS testing, Spring Break and an incredibly rigid Reading/Language Arts schedule, it’s been hard to work it in. In fact, I’m almost dreading finishing it. I have a feeling my voice will be quivering and tears will be streaming down my face on Wednesday. In preparation, I was flipping through the book and immediately was drawn to turn to the back, remembering fondly the voice of my parents as they read this to me as a child. I stopped when I read this excerpt –
“Why did you do all this for me?” he asked. “I don’t deserve it. I’ve never done anything for you.” “You have been my friend,” replied Charlotte. “That in itself is a tremendous thing.”
Powerful words written by a powerful author. These words helped me realize how incredibly grateful I am for so many different interactions that I have had over my undergraduate and graduate career – the ways in which people continually go out of their ways to help me or to make my life better or easier. There’s just something about William & Mary people. Something in the water we drink. Something in the green and gold blood we bleed. Something in the cobblestones that are under our feet. Something in our love of ampersands. Something powerful. Something that draws us together.
In this last week of my graduate school career, I happily am sitting back, embracing the incredible challenges and successes that this beautiful place has brought me, and remembering all of those people who have helped me along the way. Those people who brought me a coffee when I really needed one. Who took a drive with me on the Colonial Parkway when they knew I’d had a bad day. Who took initiative on a project because they knew I didn’t have time then, but that I would soon. Who motivated me to run and finish my first 5k. Who gave me a hug every single morning when they walked into their second grade classroom. Who forwarded along kind words to help me get further in the job application process. Who have had me over for dinner and wine. Who have met me for coffee and breakfast and chit chat. Who have nurtured me and loved me for the past 5 years.
I am so grateful for those people. I am so grateful for William & Mary. I don’t feel like I deserve it. I don’t feel like I’ve done anything exceptional for it. But just like Wilbur, I realize that sometimes, friends are what gets you through things. They push you farther and make you believe in yourself and achieve your dreams, whether those dreams are not getting turned into bacon by the Zuckermans or finding a teaching job.
Hark upon the gale,