It's time to get real, I mean, really REAL. Even though it's difficult to leave Finland I truly am excited to see my students back at El Toro High School and tell them, truly, how proud I am of them for being such upstanding, creative, and diligent students. Take for instance my students in Bull's-Eye, our video production class, who have put on a 7 minute +/- show for a student body of more than 2600 students EVERY WEEK, a DVD yearbook with the FilmEd Academy of the Arts, put on a music/dance show for more than 800 people with our print media class, and at least two pep rallies. They are truly phenomenal...and then add on top of that Elodia Gonzalez, their teacher who joined them since January - she clearly could have no idea what she type of work she got herself into when she accepted the job and from what I hear she's been great!
And to my science students - I can't wait to see you! I have wonderful reports about your progress and I look forward to seeing you in person. (Yay! Operation Warmth!) There hasn't been a day that I haven't thought about you and the Bull's-Eye kids; I am so fortunate to know you and to work with you. You give me hope in the future each and every day. Truly.
I took my last ride around town today on a bicycle - holding an ice cream cone. It was a long, purposeful meander through the streets of town to say "Good-bye", around the fountain in the park, by the thawed and flowing Pielisjoki River, by the university and my former office in the Regia building, by the Verona restaurant where we used to have lunch, the elementary and secondary schools where I met so many interesting students and teachers, some university kids playing "floor ball" in the elementary school's play yard, and back down the long forest trail to my apartment by the lake.
The weather is so pleasant - I'm wearing a light sweater but it's only needed in the shade, if at all. There's a light breeze, the birds are singing; it couldn't be a more beautiful day. The environment couldn't be any more different than when I arrived on the 5th of January.
There's one story I have tucked inside me but I haven't been able to share it because I don't yet know how to do it justice. I came to Finland to research how scientific problem solving is taught but one of the most compelling classrooms I attended was a music class. Yes, a music class. When I left the class at the end of the day I told the teacher, "I don't know what just happened to me, but something big just happened." In fact, I'm still trying to determine the far-reaching effects of the skills this teacher employed to help her teachers grow in problem solving skills, in creativity, in collaborative and communication skills, and in finding one's own courage to express oneself.
For some reason I'm still not ready to tell the story, but soon I will be. Soon. I promise. I want to do it justice; the words are still forming. Soon. I promise.