The graduation ceremonies

The graduation ceremonies

The graduation ceremonies

Tell me about your graduation, and I’ll tell who you are

Image of OpenClipart-Vectors. / Pixabay


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Antoni Hernández-Fernández


In the educational context, graduations represent a culminating moment, an oasis of joy, delight, and satisfaction after the arduous journey of learning. This final, ecstatic event not only marks the end of an academic stage but also becomes a locus amoenus, an idyllic place that, much like in Latin literature, offers a certain solace and final reflection on the journey taken both for students and teachers. It is a clearing in the middle of the educational forest, a source of anecdotes, of the recounting of critical or epic moments, that converges into the river that shapes human societies.

Graduations also signify a moment of parting, of Borges’ bifurcating paths. Lives intertwined by subjects, curricula, courses, and educational laws take divergent paths. There are farewells, but within the teacher’s soul also nestle future achievements and dreams yet to be realised. Teachers await from that moment the next cohort, which will arrive renewed and equally young, as they themselves grow a little older each academic year.

The teaching life is often a solitary journey. The readings and hours of preparation, the corrections, lesson planning, the constant and daily effort to teach and motivate students, form part of a job that seldom receives immediate recognition. When the school year has been successful as a whole, for even the best scribe makes mistakes, graduations are a source of fresh water that revives our spirit in a final moment of exhaustion, spurred on by the summer heat.

The energy and vitality of the graduating students reinvigorate the teacher. The graduation ceremony, with its emotional and symbolic weight, is a conclave where the teacher can appreciate the fruits of their labour. Smiles, jokes, hugs, and words of gratitude from students or their families are the balm of Fierabrás for the teacher, weary at the final stretch, if not utterly exhausted.

In my teaching career, I have experienced many varied graduations. Tell me about your graduation, and I will tell who you are. Private or state? Cheerful or serious? Formal or informal? Perhaps there is a refined and even luxurious catering, or the families’ Spanish omelettes compete with crisps from the supermarket. Maybe it is under the shade of the courtyard trees, or in the gym decorated with balloons filled with the air of final success, or in an auditorium meticulously decorated, whether by the students themselves or by hired professionals. The students will speak, represented by those who are more charismatic or by those who have achieved the highest grades, or will it be the teachers and the administrative staff, more or less in ties, depending on the institution’s ownership? Sometimes there is more social distance between students and teachers, and one goes to bed early; sometimes one fraternises with the newly graduated troop and ends up staying out until the early hours of the morning. Whatever the case, the educational community gathers to celebrate the joint effort, dedication, and knowledge acquired. The seeds of the future of that cohort and of society are recognised there.

Every graduation is a social act, a ceremony. A joint celebration that situates the teacher in the context to which they have dedicated their efforts. If they do not receive a certain recognition, if they do not find the warmth of gratitude, if they do not end up sharing a moment of harmony and satisfaction and above all, if they continue to feel alone after it, perhaps they should consider a change of scenery. Everyone fits in somewhere.

And sometimes the gratitude of a student, a father, or a mother is enough. A smile or a thank you can suffice. No need for pomp, reverences, gifts, grand acts, or exaltations. Humility reigns in the profession. We are not that demanding, truly, although everyone has their expectations, of course.

The academic year ends, does the spirit renew itself? I have loved this year’s graduation. You have to sow before you can reap . Good luck in the future, graduates.

Source: educational EVIDENCE

Rights: Creative Commons

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