One of the projects I've been working on this past week is cleaning and reorganizing things I have in storage. I used to be much more of a packrat, but in the last five years, I've realized what a burden "stuff" can be. I am okay with holding onto things that have sentimental value...or things which might become keepsakes...but once I year, I like to look in at least some of the boxes and see if I really want to keep them, or if it's time to let go.
In one of the boxes this morning were some reminders of former students. I scanned my two favourites. Here is the first:
This was from a chemistry class I taught 8 or so years ago. There was a task where students had to put a nail in some copper sulfate solution and then determine the moles of iron leftover at the end of the reaction. Students designed the whole set-up, and there was any number of beakers. Labeling was very important, because every setup was unique. Most students just wrote their name and the class period. But Tim? A delightfully quirky young man---the kind of kid who is bright, but just floating through high school. He's the one you look at and know that as soon as he figures out what his passion in life is, he's going to be freakin' brilliant. Tim used a piece of masking tape to label his beaker as if it was wearing a name tag: "Hi, my name is Tim." It was just so unusual (I never saw another like this in the past 17 years) that I had to keep it after the lab was done.
And then, there was Sarah---a 15-year old who was completely obsessed with Harrison Ford. This, too, was nearly a decade ago. Harrison Ford information ended up nearly everywhere. She had a special stick figure with a whip that she drew next to her name. He had a starring role in a pop-up book about worms that she made (complete with googly eyes). In spite of the teasing by her peers, she was unwavering in her devotion. Here is a sticky note that was turned in with one of her assignments:
I hear from Sarah about once a year. I haven't asked her if she is still such a fan. I should send her a note today and find out what she thought of the most recent Indiana Jones adventure.
I don't have very many pieces like these---reminders of the delightful playfulness and imagination of teens and the fun I had watching them grow up. I threw out a lot of other things today, but not these. I still need to hang on this kid stuff.