Thursday, July 1, 2010

Am I Blue?

Am I Blue?

Well, the answer to that is "Yes" and "No".

The end of a school year brings with it a mixed bag of emotions. On the one hand it is difficult to come to terms with the fact that this moment in time, this exact cohort of children, will never exist again.

It is also very difficult to say good-bye. I realize that I will see most of these children again but the day to day interactions will never be the same and I will never quite feel that same sense of responsibility for them.

And there are some children I will not see again. They will move away or transfer to different schools. This is especially difficult because on the last day of school I know they won't be back.

I feel the weight of finality, of letting go, trusting that life will be happy for them and some other teacher will hopefully fully embrace this child.

On the last day of school they write me letters stating they'll miss me.

Or that I am funny.

Or that I am nice.

The little girl who wrote me this note (pictured right) is not coming back. This perpetually grinning, beaming child became sadder as the last day came to a close. She hugged me good-bye at dismissal with quiet acceptance laced with extreme melancholy.

I totally appreciated her sense of drama.

I will miss her terribly. I will miss all of them.

But on the other hand, it is brilliant to have the summer to refresh, rejuvenate and recharge. Each year I brood over saying good-bye to my class but in September I fall in love all over again with renewed energy, ideas and passion.

I have been teaching long enough to know that these children never really drop out of my life. I am in touch with many former students through the relationships I have established with their families. We keep in touch. I watch them grow. I celebrate their success and help guide, advise or simply listen when they struggle.

So, why be blue?

This is a Theme Thursday post.

13 comments:

mouse (aka kimy) said...

what a beautiful post.

it's easy to understand why you are blue at the end of the year even knowing the kids are never out of your life.

the photo of the boy...aw it is wonderful - those eyes penetrates to one's very soul!

how sweet to get those letters!! you are a special teacher....and funny and nice and oh so smart!

Betsy said...

Awww. That note is precious! I can tell your students love you! So sweet!

Monkey Man said...

What a meaningful post on the theme. You really bring the emotion of your work to the page. Thanks. My Theme Thursday is HERE .

Jingle said...

nice!

PattiKen said...

It sounds like you are a wonderful teacher, one of those who has a real and permanent impact of students' lives. Bravo.

My daughter is a Moderate Special Needs (MSN) teacher. She chose that path because of a teacher she had, one who cared as you seem to care. Maybe you'll see one of your charges in the classroom again someday, all grown up.

Gary said...

Thanks Kimy. I think Lauren must have taken this photo but I loved it so much I snatched it. It breaks my heart. But in an instant he was probably running around again and all was right with his world.

I do love when the kids write to me. This year the writing (as opposed to drawing) came later since we changed from first grade to kindergarten. I was thrilled when they started writing more.

Betsy - Nothing like a letter from a child to bring a smile to my face.

Monkey Man (I love that name) - I read your theme thursday post and right back at you. Powerful stuff you wrote there.

Jingle - thanks

PattiKen - and brava to your daughter. It is already strange to think that the first class of kindergarten students I taught are now 18 or 19 years old! Wow. Many of the boys are taller than I am and so mature. I still see them as little and highly energetic. I do find that they like to hear about themselves as children and thank goodness I remember so much about each one of them.

Barbara said...

I know it must be really hard for a teacher to have to start new relationships all over again each year. Even though the goodbyes are not forever, your relationship with your students is changing of necessity.

As a child I worried from the minute school was out about my summer vacation coming to an end. I must have been searching hard for reasons to have summertime blues.

You are now in the enviable position of having time off to recharge and do things like go to Italy AGAIN! I hope you enjoy your time off.

Steve said...

This is a great post, Gary. Once again we can all see why you're so good at your job -- no, your calling.

I love that note from the girl. Do you save all the notes you get from students? If so, you must have a room full of them!

Pauline said...

Oh that mix of joy and sorrow - sweet, and poignant and heart-tugging! It speaks to the specialness of your calling that you can feel both so deeply and that those feelings spur you to teach again and again. I know the ache of "losing" one's students and the joy of meeting new ones. Beautifully put!

Gary said...

Barbara - I remember that when I was young the summer seemed endless. I don't think it was because I was such a school geek that I couldn't wait to get back to the books but that was a time when each day was longer because I was not always thinking ahead. This is a big issue for me now. My mind races ahead so the now moments are lost because I am thinking of the next ones. I am told that time slows down again in old age. Probably for the same reasons.

Steve - I have a ton of letters that I have saved but in the past few years I started to scan them instead of saving them all. It is nice to have the actual letters/notes but this way I save space.

Pauline - As a teacher I knew that you would understand personally what I meant here. I am settling into vacation mode and it has not even been a week yet. :)

Efrat Schorr said...

It is so hard to move on - a classroom of students and a teacher becomes like a family.
This was a beautiful post.

Mona said...

that is a lovely post, lovely picture and a lovely note!

Gary said...

Thanks Mona

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