As I mentioned last week, my resignation went before the board, and I was finally able to tell my students that I was leaving. I wasn’t quite sure how to do it, but I just started speaking, and was honest with them. They didn’t make it easy for me – there was a lot of screaming and howling (middle school behavior leaves much to be desired), but I was able to get through it without breaking down. There were a few that were in tears, although I think a few more had suspected ever since I got engaged. They know enough about me and my personal life to put two and two together. I got many, many hugs, and lots of that look they have when they are thinking hard about something – you know, the “processing big news” look.
Our year-end concert was this past Thursday, and again, I wasn’t sure what to say. In the classroom, I’m more able to articulate, but put me on a stage, under lights, with a microphone, and I’m not as comfortable. The kids performed well – I know they were doing their best for me, knowing it was my last one. At the end, one of my eighth graders, one I never would have guessed would grab the microphone, stepped up and read something she had written for me. As she read, multiple kids came up to hand me bouquets of flowers, and then there was no stopping the tears. So many kids came up for hugs, and I hugged each one individually. A few told me how they felt about me, and my class, that it was the only reason they liked coming to school, and such… It was all very sweet, and a touch heart-breaking.
I know they are concerned about what will come. A multi-year class is never the same with a new teacher. I know they are sad, and a bit mad that I am leaving them (some are probably glad, too!). I just keep trying to explain to them that sometimes you have to do things that are good for you, even if they don’t seem like they are good for anyone else.
I am still getting random hugs, and messages written on my white board, disappointed looks, and a few quickly-wiped-away tears. The eighth graders have asked me to come to their dance, a rather big hullabaloo the evening before the last day of school. Normally, I don’t, but I might pop by this year.
These kids represent 16 years of kids who have taught me so much about themselves, and human beings in general. I’m a better person for having been a teacher, and I really wish John Q. Public could teach for a day so they knew what really happens in schools, from the teacher’s perspective.
It is time for me to go, however. I’m so glad these kids have made it a sweeter experience.