Besides the fact that we have a week off and it's the start of basketball season, Thanksgiving is fun for another reason. The ex's.
No, not those ex's. I'm speaking of those kids that vanished in August and have now returned to grace the high school with stories of wonder and glory of the outside world. While my basketball team did not come out on the winning end of our game on Friday night, I was very pleased to see ex-ball players and students come out of the stands and say hello to the old coach/teacher, sometimes with a handshake, sometimes with a hug. The stories are fun and I actually get a little jealous of the feeling they are experiencing. Remember the time when the world seemed so open and "out there"? I do, and sometimes I miss it, even though I experience more of the world now than I did when I was 19 years old. Most students come back from the start of their four year experience with a mixture of pride and enthusiasm. They are doing a successful job at the college thing while enjoying all the perks that come with leaving town for College U. It's fun watching them and their reactions. There are also those that return with the new realization that yes, college is harder than high school and they are now facing the specter of things like Academic Probation or worse, coming home. These were the A students that breezed by the classes because they didn't want the challenge of an Honors level class their Senior year and that work ethic has returned to bit them in the ass. I try to tell them to bare down and focus, but that often comes with the "yeah, high school didn't prepare me much" speech from the kid. Yeah, if would've focused in high school, college might be easier buddy.
I keep up with quite a few students on Facebook, but looking at them in person and watching their smiles makes me happy knowing that they are safe and successful.