(The following is a short speech by IVA math teacher Cari Noble delivered at the promotion ceremony of IVA's first graduating class.)
I used to think that the best thing about teaching was the look on a student’s face when, after a long struggle, they finally “got it”. I still think that it is pretty great. But now I think that the best thing about teaching your class is the gratitude you show.
There are students in this class who say “thank you” after each and every lesson. Every single time, it hits me that I am so lucky to be teaching students who are grateful to be taught. It is something that I feel from all of you, even if you don’t say it. You see learning as a gift and you are thankful for it. You recognize our efforts to create opportunities for you to think, and you appreciate it.
Today, it is my turn to express my gratitude to you.
First, to the parents: You took such a huge leap of faith three years ago. Thank you for trusting us with your children, your babies. Thank you for letting go, even when it was hard.
To the students: Thank you for the kindness you showed to all of us, your teachers and your classmates. Thank you for the way you welcomed new students with open arms. Thank you for the generosity you had, giving people fresh starts when they needed them most. Thank you for pushing me to explain clearer and be a better teacher. Thank you for struggling through POWs and projects. Thank you for laughing at my jokes and making learning fun. Mostly, thank you for the questions and wonders.
Next fall, IVA will open its doors and, for the first time, you won’t be there, but really, you will. You have made this school what it is. I hope that you look back with pride at what we created together. I know it is not likely that you will all remember how to find the area of a trapezoid or the quadratic formula, but I hope you learned to love thinking, and I hope that you continue to be grateful for any opportunity you have to do so.