I expected the graduation to be low key with only my husband in attendance. I mean, really.... who wants to sit through a long graduation ceremony right before Christmas?
Back then, third grade was the highest grade in our primary school. To help teach about our election process, each third grade teacher would divide her class into two groups. They would take on an animal for their party's name and then nominate students to run for "Teacher of the Day." We had a debate, primary election, and then the winners from the primary election would run in the general election. The winner would then teach for a day in January. The "Teacher of the Day" would make lesson plans for reading, math, spelling, science, PE, and art. They would gather the supplies needed, and be inaugurated the day before they became the teacher. On that special day, the "Teacher of the Day," Marina, was called Miss Garcia by the classroom teacher, who sat back and took pictures; as well as all the students. Miss Garcia took roll, taught all of the lessons, did recess duty, dealt with any discipline problems that might have arisen, answered the phone, and ate lunch with the other "Teachers of the Day" in the teachers' lunch room. It was a huge responsibility and honor for one classroom student each year.
On Graduation Day, when I reminisced about "Teacher of the Day," Marina stated that she knew back when she was the Teacher of the Day that she wanted to be a teacher when she grew up. It touched my heart to hear that one classroom project had such a lasting and life changing effect on her. As elementary school teachers we don't always get to find out what happens to our students as they move on. We don't usually get to know what effect certain lessons or extras we do in the classroom have on the students with whom we teach, so this news was extra special to me. I was then privileged to sit next to my former student as we both received our masters degrees. It made for an extra special graduation ceremony. I consider this a monumental reward for teaching the last thirty-three years!