After school today I went to a get-together to celebrate the end of the school year. Many of my co-workers said that they'd come out for a simple buffet at a nearby restaurant to send off three teachers who got RIF'd, two colleagues who've been displaced, and one who just retired.
The first part of the afternoon the gathering was limited to my co-teacher Lynne and I. As we puzzled about what had happened to the 20+ people who committed verbally to going, we also realized that we could have a splendid time without anyone else. After working together closely for the past 11 years, we still find so many things to discuss.
When everyone had arrived, the group was comprised of 10 people. Despite feeling miffed by the absence of my other colleagues, I recognized that I was there with a group of people who matter to me, people who make my professional life a joy. These are the people who quick to offer a smile, a helping hand, a shoulder, an ear, a cookie, or whatever is needed to make the job easier. Not surprisingly, these are the teachers who are most valued by their colleagues, their students, and the community we serve.
Afterwards, several of us attended a party that another one of our colleagues was having to celebrate her son's graduation from high school. Her modest home was full of friends and family wanting to congratulate him. It was not a lavish, catered event to impress important acquaintances, but a home cooked feast of typical Belizean cuisine shared by people who care about one another.
Those are the things (people) that matter.