Thursday was the last day of school.
I am still trying to process it all. To be honest, it was one of the least relaxing year-ends I have ever experienced. A lot of things got switched around on our calendar this year (due to TESTING) and then a bunch of things just kinda got stuck during the last two weeks of school. This week alone, we had the annual Multicultural Festival with performance form each class, two field trips, and our annual Third Grade Marketplace Day (where kids buy and sell home-made items from the fake money they earned in class.) On top of that, our school is getting new carpeting (yay!! long overdue!!) but that means we all had to pack up. And those of us that are moving to new classrooms had to box up EVERYTHING.
Note to teachers: If you are leaving a school or a room and decide to leave a bunch of your stuff there so the next teacher can use it--DON'T. Far worse than coming into a room that is completely barren is a room filled with other people's stuff that they couldn't bring themselves to get rid of.
I found stuff in my classroom from three teachers ago! And while it was cool to go through the old stuff, we were on a time crunch. The carpet folks gave us one day from the end of school until they would arrive.
It was crazy.
And then, in my class, I was reading the Seven Tales of Trinket*. We finished it on the last day and I have to admit, the ending is a bit emotional. Right after I closed the book, my students presented me with a lovely gift--things they had written about me. I read it aloud and got a little teary. Some of the kids called out, "Let it go, Mrs. Thomas. Just let the tears out!" though I was determined to keep it together. But then I looked down and Uliver was weeping. Weeping, folks. And once it started, it was contagious. Kid after kid after kid began shedding tears. Some were sobbing.
It was the crying-est last day of school I have ever seen in my life.
I think we were all just pretty exhausted. It's normal to cry when tiredness takes over.
However, this was a special class. This class really bonded over the course of the year. They were not a perfect class, but they were a perfectly awesome class. I will miss them so much! (Yes, I know I told them I would be at the Cole Library every Wednesday at 3:00 p.m. to help them find books.I know I will see many of them next week.) But I will still miss them. I will miss US--the people we were when we were together. They filled me up, every single day.
Truth: Sometimes teaching does not fill you up. Sometimes it drains you. Sometimes it takes little pieces of your soul and makes you ache because despite how much you are doing, it is never enough.
And then, sometimes teaching is joyous. Sometimes, you thank your lucky stars every day that you get to do the job that you do.
That was my year. Sigh.
And so, as I look towards summer, (and I still can't believe that I an standing on summer's porch, getting ready to run into its big yard and whoop like a wild thing) it is bitter sweet. But you know, I kind of like a little bitter with my sweet. What do they say, better to have loved and lost blah, blah blah...?
I guess it is better to have had this class and promoted them on, than to have never had them at all.
* I have read Trinket to my classes for the past few years. What an awesome experience to read your own novel to a group of students. Their questions are the best. Their favorite voice? The Old Grave Digger.