What my students taught me on their last day of school

Today was the last day for my grade 12s. They are going away to take their exams. I’m a little sad. Actually I’m a lot sad, because I’ve spent two years with these people and after today I won’t see them every day. I love teaching middle school, but there is something special being part of this literal commencement of adulthood. My smart, funny, refuse-to-focus, history dorks* are ready to leave me.

Today the grade 12s took over the school. Senior pranks at YIS are so silly. They ask permission for each prank. They steal chairs and takeover the staff lounge until 9AM and no later. They make grade 1 students pretend to be IB students. They photoshop teachers as professional basketball players and as Churchill. Silly, funny, thoughtful pranks**

So today I came to my room this morning and I saw this and laughed…

Screen Shot 2016-04-26 at 8.40.46 PM

And I saw this and laughed…

Screen Shot 2016-04-26 at 8.40.55 PM

And I saw this and I was hit in the gut…


I laughed all day at this. It’s just so biting and mean and true. The women of my class are so damn smart***. But then I thought about it. What type of teacher/feminist am I when women aren’t the heroes of history, at least sometimes?   Why do we basically have a celebration every time we learn a woman’s name or read a history book written by a woman? Why are we studying what happens to women as opposed to understanding how women can take control of history?


I can make excuses. I know exactly why I teach what I do and there are legitimate reasons, too boring and pedantic to discuss here. But the wonderful women of my history classes deserve more. The men in my class deserve to know that studying women is valid and important.


I’m now trying to figure out how to add something women to the syllabus for next year’s students, because they deserve more too. My gorgeous grade 12s, these special men and women, totally schooled me on their last day at school. They inspired me to be a better teacher.  As it should be.


  1. I call them dorks, lovingly, on a regular basis. My wall of memes they sneakily post proves my thesis.
  2. Sometimes they are so sweet that I legitimately worry about them when they leave YIS. Are they tough enough?
  3. I know it was the women because I talked to them.

About Rebekah Madrid

MYP Humanities Instructor. International School Teacher in Japan. Google Certified Teacher. Apple Distinguished Educator. National Board Certified Teacher. Traveler & TV Watcher. This is where I write my thoughts about all of the above.
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3 Responses to What my students taught me on their last day of school

  1. How fun! I love their ‘pranks’. AND I can’t believe before August is even finished they are leaving you. AND even my 5th graders wanted to know when we would have a ‘dead dudette’ to add to all the ‘dead dudes’ in our Early Explorers unit.

  2. Pingback: Links to be reading | Teaching the Teacher

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