Like Elle Woods, love led me here, reflecting on the past two years with my students and wondering who they will grow to be when they leave the nest I’ve made in 7-5. This group. It saddens me to know that there are only two days left with these students. Of course, there were days throughout the year in which the team and I would joke about the number of days left and having the chance to say “BUHbye” in true David Spade fashion when June rolled around; I think every teacher can relate. However, as we slowly but surely approach the final day, my heart begins to hurt over the fact that I will officially bid my first class farewell and prepare to embrace a new bunch of dragons in the fall.
I love my kids. I think that’s an essential part of teaching – to genuinely have space in your heart for your students. For the past two years, these kids have brought me to tears both from laughter and heartache. I’ve watched them excell in the classroom and on stage, pitch no-hitters on the weekends and perform at Carnegie Hall on a school night. I’ve held detention with them and have watched dolphins with them. I’ve shared stories and listened to stories and became a part of their stories. It’s hard to imagine that the faces that have lifted my spirits on the most difficult of days will no longer be waiting by my lockers after the 7:40 bell.
In looking back on the past two years, I probably wasn’t the best teacher they could’ve ever had teaching them reading and writing. I was (and still am) disorganized as all hell and couldn’t follow a table of contents to save my life. I’m sure that I’ve messed up a deadline or skipped over something relatively valuable. I may have missed a pertinent comma rule or overlooked a lost type of figurative language. I can say that over my years spent with these students, I’ve shown them that they are loved, and I hope that they have looked beyond essay drafts and behavior referrals to see that. If I had done anything for my students, it would have been that I proved that someone cares for them both as a student and as a person. One of my fifth period girls wrote this in her letter to her eighth grade self as part of the reflection of this year.. It brought me to tears. I want to be remembered for the heart I show because there was a teacher out there that showed me hers when I forgot that teachers had them and reminded me that teachers care about the person you are, even sometimes more than the letter grade you earn. I can’t fully put into words what it feels like to hear a student tell you that you were “born to teach Everwoods*” because of how well you work with him and now his brother.. or when a student writes her five haikus all about how she’ll miss you.. or when a student tells you that she would never have gotten through middle school without you by her side encouraging her and reassuring her and caring for her. Those are the things that a $50,000 degree can’t provide, not by a long shot. I hope that my kids leave me and carry with them the words of the greatest fictitious teacher that had ever taught (every kid of the 90s):
“Believe in yourselves. Dream. Try. Do good.”
Love to all of you educators out their bidding your own babies farewell, Ms. Sunshine