Friday, June 09, 2006

Self-appointed Valedictorian

Today is graduation day for the University of Windsor's Faculty of Education. Being that friends and family were unable to be here to watch me collect my diploma, I opted out of the loooong ceremony and will pick my diploma up next week.

I realized that something should be done to mark the occasion, so my bottle of Jackson & Triggs reserve chardonnay (which we've been saving for a special occasion) is now chilling in the fridge, and we're going to have something yummy for dinner (still haven't decided what yet).

I'm kinda glad I never had to give a graduation speech - i'm a good public speaker but they always sound the same...

"Today is the first day of the of our lives" hmmm i never liked that statement - you could say that everyday and it would still mean the same thing.

"Look back on your time here and remember it fondly" - again, too cliche' and hopefully we will all remember the insanity of teacher's college with a smile.

"Treasure the friendships you've made this year" - this one always made me sad, since most of the people I've met this year, however wonderful, will probably not be lifelong friends. I can still save the pictures and be thankful for meeting such great people even if it was for a short time.

Graduation means that we are free to congratulate ourselves for a job well done, for recieving a reward for several months or years of hard work, to get more letters behind our names and take a hard look into the future that will be affected by the piece of paper in our hand. Today means that I am officially a "real teacher" and will be looked upon as an educator for the rest of my life.

When I applied for school, they sent questionnaires to fill out, asking me what it meant to be a teacher in today's world. After several responses, I started to feel a little uncomfortable by the Polyanna viewpoint that I seemed to have about this profession. Phrases like "Celebrating student diversity", "learning from my students", "working to ensure that they have all of the opportunity in the world", peppered my answers.

After allowing a few work friends to read my work, they started calling me Miss Congeniality. Just imagine me on stage saying "Woooorld Peace!"

As I have mentioned in previous posts, I know have a much clearer outlook on teaching, and feel confident that I can be an effective teacher who will NOT burn out in 5 years, as so many new teachers have been doing.

So today I sit in front of my laptop, wearing a bathrobe (grad robes not available) and toss my Colorado Avalanche ballcap up in the air, feeling damn proud of myself for a job well done.

Maybe that's the point of Graduation Day - a chance for a person who would never ordinarily brag about herself to feel pride and confidence in herself, and announce to the world that "I did it!"

I will end this "speech" (or whatever it is) with the wise words of Dr. Suess:

On and on you will hike
And I know you'll hike far
and face up to your problems
whatever they are.

You'll get mixed up, of course
as you already know
you'll get mixed up
with many strange birds as you go.
So be sure when you step.
Step with care and great tact
and remember that Life's
a Great Balancing Act.
Just never forget to be dextrous and deft.
And never mix up your right foot with your left.

And will you succeed?
Yes! You will indeed!
(98 and 3/4 percent guaranteed.)


be your name Buxbaum or Bixby or Bray
or Mordecai Ali Van Allen O'Shea,
you're off to Great Places!
Today is your day!
Your mountain is waiting.
So... get on your way!

Bring on the mountains.


  • At 8:54 PM, Blogger Kim said…

    Well Miss Peterson (hereonin you can only be refered to as this), I hope you enjoyed your bottle of wine and had Jeremy give you a congratulatory toast. Thinking of you on this momentous day! (and I promise I'm going to call you back!!!!)

  • At 9:11 PM, Blogger ledawit said…

    that was a very well written graduation speech there miss peterson. i am proud of you for who you are and what you are about to accomplish because it takes alot of strength so believe in yourself since you have it.. :)
    ps. i did notice a grammar error in your speech though ... :P:P:P LOL

  • At 5:45 PM, Blogger Tam's thoughts said…

    I did the same thing. I skip my Paramedic graduation since we were living in Saskatchewan, we had nobody coming to celebrate what was the most important day of my life. I had to work hard and I mean hard. Dave couldn't attend either since once again the RCMP was the boss and he was away on training. Congrats and good luck.
    p.s. If he misses the birth of our child because of the RCMP, I will hate the RCMP and him :)


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