While looking over students’ baby pictures to bring down for yearbook, I was reminded of my own baby pictures, and what it’s like to look back on the past this way. (The picture included above is not me, just for your information.)
Some students’ baby pictures were fun to look at, mostly because I don’t know these students super well yet and it’s great to see their pasts. A bunch of other teachers are more familiar with the students, some of whom have worked for years and years and have known them since they were in Pre-K, when their baby pictures were probably taken in the first place. As a teacher, I’ve always loved looking at yearbooks, just to see what students write in them and what students come up with. I also love looking at the baby pictures, mostly as a way of guessing who is who. Last year, I didn’t know everyone in the senior class, so it was difficult to play the guessing game with their pictures.
I posted a few baby pictures on my Instagram a year or two ago, and the one that stands out to me the most is of me in my overalls and red shirt (looking like Mario) while sitting on the floor of my grandma Carrie’s house. I can picture exactly where I was when that happened, and I remember how I felt going back to that place. Sometimes I felt dread, other times I felt a mixture of happiness and complacency. It depended on the occasion, what holiday we were celebrating, and who was expected to be there from the family. Sometimes being a baby is frustrating because you’re forced to interact with people you don’t want to interact with, such as surly family members. That’s one of the perks of growing up.
Remember being in school and having a yearbook? Remember passing it around to all your friends and fellow students, asking for signatures or messages to remember them by over the summer? Remember looking through to see your class picture, your pearly whites gleaming in the perfectly symmetrical lighting of every one’s pictures at once? Maybe you remember looking back at your yearbooks in the years and years that have passed since school was relevant to you. I certainly do; just a year ago, before we moved to Stamford, Alex and I spent some time looking at my old yearbooks before packing them away to be brought to our new apartment together. It was a nostalgia trip, just poring over those pages and viewing the signatures I had from friends I haven’t spoken to in years. It’s really been years, believe it or not, and it feels like it’s been years, too. Nothing compares to the nostalgia of looking at your picture from 8th grade, the year you hated the most, and seeing positive messages there that you forgot about. The phone number your first real crush left there, the HAGS and more and more, repeated forever.
I mention the yearbook because, as someone who’s currently working at a K-8 school, I was enlisted to help program the yearbook online. I’m a member of the faculty in charge of the yearbook, and we’re working together to complete this thing in time. We have about a month left (at the time of me writing this) to finish it. We’re waiting for pictures to be sent in from parents and students, but there aren’t many yet. It’s a work-in-progress, but it illuminates for me how much work must have gone into all the yearbooks people have made for me throughout the years. They weren’t just imagined out of thin air.