Friday, June 25, 2010

On Saying Good-Bye.

"Don't cry because it's over. Smile because it happened." ~Dr. Seuss

I said good-bye to my kinderkids on Wednesday. It was a day that I expected to be filled with emotion, happy for what they accomplished, yet sad to see them walk out of my room for the last time.  Usually it's the children who challenge me the most that stir up the most emotion in me. In the past I would find myself a little choked up as I hugged each child and  sent them on their way. But this year was different. I didn't feel much of anything, and that bothered me. Was I becoming cold-hearted and unfeeling?

I thought that maybe after a few years at this I had become immune to the sadness that comes with saying good-bye, or perhaps the sense of relief that I felt after a particularly hard year was masking the sadness, hiding it for me to deal with at another time. 

But after two days of packing up my room to move across the hall, while watching my friend Leanne pack up hers to move to another school, watching Diane my friend and retiring principal pack up her office and my friend Pattie our retiring adjustment counselor pack up her office, it hit me. I had bigger emotional fish to fry. I have not become cold-hearted, unfeeling and immune, in fact it's just the opposite. 

My 18 children will be replaced by 18 new ones, but these teachers, my friends and colleagues can not be replaced. Sure, their rooms and positions will be filled by new people, but you just can't replace people you love and care about.
Will they still be my friends? Of course. We'll keep in touch, see each other for dinner or at an occasional professional development day, but it won't be the same. We laughed together, vented to each other, shared ideas, materials and the occasional cupcake and so much more. We are all different, yet so much the same. Passionate for what we do, teaching children.

We've spent the last two days together cleaning our spaces, being so busy that we haven't said least not yet, and  I'm not really sure that when the time comes I'll be able to do it with much composure. 

So I realize now, that I'm not cold-hearted or unfeeling, this year I didn't cry saying good-bye to my kids, because I'm saving my tears for my friends.

Monday, June 14, 2010

"and your little dog too!"

I had an interesting conversation with one of the munchkins today...

Me: "Dorothy", you need to clean up those crayons you spilled.
Dorothy: Why?
Me: Because when we make a mess we are responsible for cleaning it up.
Dorothy: Why?
Me: Because it's the right thing to do, if you make a mistake you need to fix it.
Dorothy: Why?
Me: (quickly losing patience) Because I'm the boss and I said so, that's why.
Dorothy: Well I think  you are the Wicked Boss of the West!
Me: (completely void of patience) Yes, I am. Now pick...them...up!

Where are those flying monkeys when you need them?

Sunday, June 6, 2010

T is for Teacher

This has been an emotional week for me. I've felt every emotion possible. Fear, worry, doubt, hope, sadness, joy, elation, relief and pride.
Mikey graduated from high school on Friday. There was a lot of doubt as to whether or not he would even get to graduation much less through the ceremony, but he did it!
He was fighting a virus this week, and it was a doozy...spinal taps, CT scans, procedures...but he powered through it and walked across that stage to receive his diploma after 4 years of hard work.

As I stood watching him walk in during the procession I was relieved to see a smile on his face and I instantly felt the tears in my eyes, so proud of the young man he has become. Once he took his seat I couldn't take my eyes off of him, watching every move making sure he was okay. As each speaker rose to the podium, my mind started to wander.
I was thinking of all the teachers he's had a long the way, the ones that have made the biggest impression on him. Those from elementary school, middle school and high school who inspired him to reach a little higher. The ones who showed him through their passion for what they do, what dedication and hard work can accomplish.

I am lucky enough to call some of them my friends and colleagues. So Andy, Tricia, Judy and Linda, I want to say thank you, not just for being Mikey's teachers but for what you do each and every day to make the world a little bit better one student at a time.

It is because of you, and the impression that each of you in your own special way has made on him, that he has decided to become a teacher himself.

I couldn't be more proud.

Much Love,