ugh, today was tough. A couple weeks ago I informed my class that I will not be returning as their teacher this fall. I'm taking a leave of absence for the year...more on that later. After lunch today, we all journeyed over to the cove we've been visiting all year for one of my favorite stories, "Everybody Needs A Rock"...the author escapes me now, and then we visited the cove and I allowed each student to choose a special rock to remind us of our wonderful year together. Very nice.
Then we rushed back to school for "move up"--the time when 2nd graders visit their new third/fourth grade classes, and the rising 1st graders (now kindergarteners) visit their new 1/2 classes. And this year, my class also met their new teacher for the fall. The 1/2s were fine--their new teacher is great (I am so happy with my replacement!), but my primates who are moving up to 3rd grade had a really emotional time--even before knowing where they would be going. I think the idea that our group is changing and splitting up just suddenly became so real for everyone--me too. I also see how tight a group of children this is--and I do believe that our experience as weavers last year, along with a class tragedy, really influenced their reaction today.
Change is always uncomfortable at first, and there is a sense of loss with this change as I am leaving the school, and the school is relocating for renovations in August. But more than even that, this collection of 13 personalities, friendships, challenges, strengths, and interests, is changing. We are all going separate ways, on to new adventures, and stepping outside our safe, warm, loving environment that has been a huge part of our daily lives for what feels like a long, long time.
They will survive--we all will. Children are resilient, and despite the sadness and difficulty in this moment of change, it is all for the best and will soon feel very normal. I know this. Today struck me deeply too. I may return after a year, but there is also a possibility that this is my last class in the public schools, and while I am excited and ready for the big changes I am facing, I feel a definite sense of loss and saying goodbye is very difficult. I love being a teacher, and I have loved my time at this amazing school. I think back to when I first entered as a student teacher and the feeling of home I immediately felt. I knew from that day I had to be a part of it, and over the past ten years of many successes, many, many, many challenges, I've become a mother, a real grown up (well, almost!!), and a better, more confident teacher. And I am forever grateful for that--to my fantastic colleagues, my first principal and my current principal, and all of the families I have had the honor of working with towards the goal of educating children.
(sigh) I think it's important to allow oneself to be sad when necessary, so tonight I'm sad. But the sun will rise tomorrow (along with the temperatures!!!), and I am ready to appreciate every single second I have left with these primates, who have touched my life by allowing me to touch their lives in some small way. Gratitude and warm thoughts to all!