Life is shifting as summer comes to an end. The Beverly Hills United School District has already started classes – as of Tuesday – and tonight I spoke with one of my students who I’ve seen weekly (except for summers) since he was in 7th grade. He is now a senior. This boy is one of the kids I am most proud of. He came to me as a shy, underachieving 7th grader, who had trouble balancing all of his classes. Tonight he filled me in on all his grades for spring semester since I haven’t seen him since he received them. Almost a 4.0 overall and A’s in both of his AP classes. He made a 95 on his AP English term paper. Yes! He also received credit for both AP tests so he’s well on his way when he goes to college. We talked about his upcoming classes for his senior year, his need for college essays and his available schedule for the year. We’ll get started with weekly sessions this upcoming Wednesday for his final year of high school. He is such a fine boy, I am already looking forward to our time together.
I have had such a wonderful experience with my private students over these past 15 years. I have worked with more students than I can count and I have developed a close working relationship with the majority. I have one boy I have had as a student since he was in 2nd grade. He is now about to start his junior year in college. When I have such longstanding relationships, I get the chance to know these kids in a special way. We become real friends over time. I have one girl who will be leaving for Tulane very soon. I have seen her weekly except for summers since she was in 4th grade. I will miss her very much. She and I are old writing buddies by this time. Alas, I hope she’ll be coming back to write with me when she comes home on breaks. That would be a treat and one that I have had now with several of my older students. I love seeing my students after they are out in the world; I love hearing about their challenges and their successes.
I have three groups of kids: those who are struggling with academics, those who need/want writing enrichment, and those who come to me solely for college essays. I can’t say I like one group over the other; each brings unique benefits and challenges. What I can say is that I end up loving these kids. Our relationship becomes central to our time together as we use their work as our focal point. I end up feeling as if I have the best job in town.
So, we’re off again with another school year. My old students are returning; new ones are calling. This job that I stumbled upon fifteen years ago will continue for yet another year.
I feel lucky to love not only my students but the work itself. I am aware that loving one’s work is a rare gift, and I do not take it for granted. I am delighted to see that I’ll get to enjoy my students for yet another year.