The night before the Last Day of School
The corridors are empty and ugly looking without all of the displays that have graced them throughout the year. My classroom walls are also bare, and all of their books have been sent home. Tomorrow is a day for the last assembly, class parties, adorable cards, goodbye hugs, and end-of-the-year speeches by the management team (who never gave us pep talks through the year, but will now make it sound like we were all a crashing success).
Every afternoon, after the children have gone for the day, I put up the schedule for the next day, and write the date on the board. Today I wrote:
"Today is Friday, July 20th, 2007".
I looked at the date and remembered my first couple of weeks in that classroom, when I couldn't stand working with these kids because they were so naughty and loud, and had no idea that I would end up being their classroom teacher. I didn't know they would amaze me with their progress and steal my heart with their personalities. I guess you can ask any teacher at the end of the year about their class and they'll probably have at least a few nice things to say (even about the naughty ones). With mine, I'm so proud that everybody acknowledges how far they've come this year, and they're known as being one of the better behaved classes in the school. We've all come a long way...
I've been trying to avoid the sadness about not seeing my little ones after tomorrow, and the craziness of the last week has definitely helped. But there have been moments here and there that have made me pause and remember that soon I won't hear 30 voices sing-songing"Good morning, Miss Peeeetason!". That sound made every little bit of stress I've gone through this year worthwhile. There have been countless moments like that this year when I've stopped and grinned at my class, thinking "wow, I love this job".
Tomorrow will not be an easy day for me, but I will do everything I can to help them get excited about going into Year 3, and having a new teacher. Some of them are having a hard time right now, clinging to me and refusing to go and play outside because they "don't want to leave" me. I know they'll be okay soon (children are so adaptable), and I'm sure I will too - it's part of the reality of being a teacher: you work with them all year and then send them to their next set of challenges, hoping they learned something from you along the way.
Dear Miss Peterson,
Just a short note to thank you for your unique contribution to my daughter A's education. I'm sure all the parents of children in class 2A would agree that you have brought something very special to our children, in that they very much believe in themselves, thanks to you. It is in no small measure that your firm but exceptionally kind delivery of the national curriculum has lined our children with the confidence that so many of them were lacking.
I believe that having taught in an "inner city" school in the UK, you will undoubtedly be able to and in fact exel no matter where you teach in the world. So, once again a big thank you and good luck in everything you do!
With every good wish for the future,
Is there any doubt why I'll need a box of tissues tomorrow?