This one has been ruminating for awhile now because saying goodbye is always so hard for me. It is probably the 2nd hardest part about being a teacher for me. You know you are sending them off to bigger and better things, but it hurts. I remember when my # 1 was just learning to crawl and I had an epiphany on the painfulness of raising children. We are literally giving birth to them to constantly watch them move away from us.
And because my own motherhood is woven into my teaching it feels exactly the same. I wrote something to share with my class a few weeks back about how I truly feel as their teacher. I am giddy, afraid, hopeful and apprehensive all at once. This is very much like motherhood. We hope we teach them well to do amazing things in the world. A world that can sometimes beat the hell of out them. But we have to trust them, we have to trust ourselves that what we taught them had an impact, and we have to watch them walk away and try it on their own.
My first group of kids was special because they were first and I love them dearly. This 2nd group of kids served a very unique and personal role that I am not sure many of them even know they did. I had them all a lot the year my guy had his brain surgery. They gave me the ability to get lost in my work. Their emails when I was down in Indy with him were uplifting and thoughtful. The daily hugs, and words of encouragement. Their love and prayers were felt on levels that they likely don’t even understand or know. When they made their way back around to me their junior year our bond became even stronger. They were and continue to bless me every day.
But on top of that they were the 2nd children in a very unique school where a big deal was made of our first group. They always kinda felt like they stood in the shadows and truthfully they did. Even though they changed the face of our school in their own unique and amazing aways. But still the shadows. But one of my best human qualities is my ability to pull people out of the shadows. This isn’t a brag, it is just my personality.
Over the last few days I have been thinking of each of them and feel nothing but immense pride at their hard work and ability and my little tiny role in that of making sure they all shined in their own ways while in my classroom and sometimes out of it. I make it a goal to have at least one connection with each student in my classroom every year.
Of course, you connect with some students more than others but there are so many in this group. In just a few days, I will watch them walk across the stage many already with their associates degree and I know that I will be that proud teacher that is all those mixed bag of emotions and trying to figure out how to say good bye. For some, I will likely never see again and others they will be shipping off.
I just can’t. I don’t want to. But I have to because it is part of the job. It is trusting you have made an impact, no matter how small, in their future so that they know they CAN and WILL be a success in where ever this life takes them.
So to my precious class of 2017 I bid you farewell. I have said it 100x to you that remember if you need reminders of your greatness you know where to find me and yes I will always awkwardly reply to your proclamations of affection because that is me. But remember that doesn’t mean I love ya’ll any less. Life gets really hard sometimes, but if you follow your heart and lead with love it won’t ever steer you wrong. Now go do great things and make us proud!
My love to you always.
Love Always Wins -MR