Thursday was my last day of school. Friday was truly my last day, after moving out and cleaning my classroom of the last 10 years. Strange experience, like many I have had throughout this process, it felt somewhat surreal. But now I am done and it feels good.
The last few days of school were quite an experience as well. I received a great deal of compliments and kind sentiments, hugs (some with tears), and some sincere love. It is typically difficult for me to receive compliments, as I am quite hard on myself, but receiving this outpouring of appreciation for what I have meant to my school community was amazing and appreciated.
On Wednesday we held a promotion ceremony for the 5th graders, a passing on from elementary to middle school. Everything went off smoothly, starting with playing my guitar with the kids for our opening song. We were through two of the classes, including mine, and were on the last few kids, when it hit me and I was overwhelmed with emotion. After the last student was done sharing his favorite memory of elementary school and receiving his certificate, our principal announced to the audience (the families of 88 students) that their teachers would like to say a few words. Immediately I thought, “You’ve got to be kidding me. I can’t talk right now.”
Both of my teammates spoke and then as I was ascending the stairs onto the stage one of them chose to say, “This year we’re not just saying goodbye to our 5th graders, but we are also saying goodbye to a teammate.” Right as I was supposed to take the microphone and speak, he really brought the tears. My emotion got the better of me for a moment and I could not speak. Thankfully the audience applauded and gave me a moment to collect myself. I spoke, said goodbye and how much I appreciated all of them and their acceptance of me for the last 10 years. Of course, couldn’t have avoided it if I wanted to, I gave a plug for The Peace of Art. It was quite a moment.
Afterward the outpouring of love and appreciation flowed. I took many pictures with kids and families. I gave out many business cards, hoping to say, “See you later,” rather than, “Goodbye.” And then I walked to class where I ran into one of my students. We had an interesting relationship and I really didn’t know if I had made a positive impact or not or how he felt about me. However, at this moment, on the second to last day of school, he chose to open up to me. I tried to say the right words and show him the love and support that every kid needs, and all I can do is hope I left him with a positive feeling and a boost to his confidence. That’s all I ever wanted as a teacher, to leave a positive influence and boost kids’ confidence.
The remainder of the day was filled with emotional moments too. It was a crazy day. As I lay in bed that night, replaying the day’s events in my mind as I always do, the collection of everything hit me all at once and again a wave of emotional rolled over me. Saying goodbye is not easy, but it turned out to be a joyous experience that filled me with positive energy and boosted my confidence… A little irony perhaps.
Now it is over and I am 100% into The Peace of Art. I couldn’t be more thrilled! I am so excited to jump into the next phase of setting things up… A little reconstruction of some walls :0) Let’s get building.