I knew yesterday was going to be a roller coaster of emotions for many reasons. One, because it was my last day of teaching – and two because I was saying “goodbye” to my class for the year and three because I was leaving behind so many friends.
However, when I walked in yesterday morning, I didn’t have the luxury of experiencing the emotions the way you might expect. I had to get all the last day paperwork completed, get the room ready for the next teacher (good luck, Jordan) and make sure everything was ready for graduation.
Retiring hasn’t hit me yet. I mean you quit teaching every year at this time – so to stop teaching in mid-June only seems normal. I’m sure when September rolls around it will hit me.
Fifth grade graduation this year was going to be hard. I have developed SO much love for every child in that class. This has been the most loving and fun-loving class I have ever taught. As the ceremony wore on I would look down at the line of kids and remember all the tears and laughter we had over the course of 172 days. I’m really going to miss the daily love and fun. They walked in the classroom in September-students and left yesterday – friends.
The parents were so kind and said such nice things after the graduation. It would be easy to get a big head (no jokes about my head here, please) after talking with them but the truth is all I did was love their kids like my own. I think most parents really respond to that.
Saying “goodbye” to these sweet kids was REALLY hard. I was able to get through all the hugs and tears without breaking down, I think partly because I knew I had a long day ahead and much to do.
Which brings me to my last reason yesterday was a stew of emotions – my friends. If you think I’m unique in the fact that I love my students then you have not been at Beulah. The teachers who I am close to there (which is a lot of them) ALL love their students. When you work around that kind of quality human being every day it’s easy to develop really close friendships. There’s literally nothing we don’t share and the support you get is unbelievable. In the picture is one of the “quality” people, Patti, and her daughter, Braxton. Patti, who is also our guidance counselor has trusted me with her son, Fuller and then, this year, Braxton. You think that as a guidance counselor she would have known better. All kidding aside, I couldn’t have asked for a better guidance counselor, parent and friend. She is quite amazing!
I was okay until buddy, cycling partner and teaching team mate came in with a grin on his face and a bottle of sparking grape juice with some cups. I got teary and we drank a toast to teaching and our friendship.
I stashed my gear in Steven’s room and walked around saying “farewell” to everyone who was in their room. Goodbye Cheryl. Goodbye Burns and Cara. Goodbye Blair, Christina and Jacqui. Goodbye Ruth and Temple. Goodbye to so many friends.
At 3:00 PM the principal announced that we could leave. This was unexpected so I grabbed my bag and decided to see if I could find my friend and former fourth grade team mate, Nichole. I found her alone in Cheryl’s room and said “goodbye” and hugged her. I got to the classroom door and turned to see her a bit flushed and teary so I ran back and gave her hug and whispered how much she meant to me. I don’t know if she heard me so I hope she reads this blog. I lost it.
I got myself together and found Steven and we walked out together. Just like we have for the last 8 years. Goodbye to eighteen years of teaching. Goodbye Room 23.