By Kary Noble, Special to the Independent
I have been a teacher in this district for 20 years, but when this school year ends I will be moving on to Vermont where I have a home teaching sixth-graders there for what I hope is the rest of my career. Leaving this district and its children couldn’t be more bittersweet, and I didn’t want to leave without thanking anyone willing to listen for the most amazing experience I have had here.
I hadn’t started out with teaching on my career agenda, but a friend had planted the seed in my mind, and during a few years working as an editor in Washington, D.C., that seed started to grow. After moving back to Massachusetts, I started working towards my master’s degree in education. When I got a job in Hopkinton in September of 1999 I was hired as a paraprofessional. I was still in graduate school at night and was looking to “get my foot in the door” of a school system nearby. I had no idea how fortunate I was to land my foot at Hopkinton Middle School. I was only about a month into my gig as a teaching assistant when a teacher “left” on a Friday, and I was told I would start teaching on that Monday. This was definitely trial by fire, but my students welcomed me that frightening Monday with warmth, motivation, respect and that trademark Hopkinton kindness. With my last few graduate classes at night after long days of teaching, planning and grading, I was somehow able to come through my rookie year smiling. This was undoubtedly the career path that I was destined to travel, and I’ve been so blessed to have traveled it with your children.
There are a lot of reasons I love this district, but its children are certainly at center stage. I have had thousands of kids pass through my classroom door over the last 20 years, and I have found something to love in all of them. They are, by and large, intellectually curious, silly, insightful, driven and, most of all, kind. The vast majority of them thank me at the conclusion of each class, and that NEVER gets old. The values instilled in these children don’t come at birth — they come from great parenting. Thank you so much to each and every parent in this district for your commitment to raising children that will certainly make the world a better place. To me there is no more noble a mission, and Hopkinton parents are killing it.
The other major factor that has made me love teaching in Hopkinton is the staff at its middle school and beyond. I have been blessed with amazing and committed colleagues. They are truly gifted, not only in knowledge of content, but, more importantly, in how to ignite a love of learning in our kids. The teachers, counselors, administrators and support staff in this district are stellar. There are many reasons that Hopkinton consistently ranks highly in those annual school contests, but a huge factor is its staff. They have not only been teachers to your wonderful children, but they have been amazing teachers and friends to me personally. It not only takes a village to raise a child, but it takes one to raise a teacher, too, and I would be a mere fraction of the teacher I am without their expertise, love and support. The average resident of Hopkinton can’t readily see the amount of time, expertise and worry that the school staff put into the job every day, but it’s tremendous. Imagine a job where you have to prepare a presentation every day that you’ll do five times a day to anywhere from 15 to 30 people who may be completely uninterested in what you have to say and probably have their minds on a thousand other things. That’s what teachers do 180 days a year in addition to myriad other responsibilities. And teachers in Hopkinton do it with such intelligence, wit, patience, humor and skill they make it look easy.
Hopkinton is and will continue to experience some growing pains over the next few years, and a main reason for that growth is because people know that Hopkinton is the best place around to educate their children. What a great “problem” to have. I have no doubt that despite what might occasionally be some bumps in the road, this town and its people will rise to the challenge because Hopkinton is full of citizens who believe that education is the foundation to making the world better. I hope in my many years in this district I have contributed in some small way to that greater mission.
Thank you for sharing your magnificent children with me for the last 20 years. Thank you to every student in Hopkinton who has graced my classroom over the years. You made me laugh, made me learn, sometimes made me frustrated, but more than anything you have filled my heart with such love and gratitude. I will likely walk out of HMS on Tuesday, June 18, like a blubbering idiot, but I will walk out a much better person than I came in, and that is thanks to all of you.