Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Goodbyes and Hellos

Anyone with a heart, with a family, has experienced loss. No one escapes unscathed. Every story of separation is different, but I think we all understand that basic, wrenching emotion that comes from saying goodbye, not knowing if we'll see that person again - or perhaps knowing that we won't. -Luanne Rice

“Why can't we get all the people together in the world that we really like and then just stay together? I guess that wouldn't work. Someone would leave. Someone always leaves. Then we would have to say good-bye. I hate good-byes. I know what I need. I need more hellos.” -Charles M. Schulz

My sad empty classroom

Big news, dear reader, I am no longer a kindergarten teacher! Life doesn't always go the way you plan, but while I had to say goodbye to a school where I loved working, I am very excited for both cutting my commute down by 30-40 minutes, and teaching 4th grade!

No matter how much I think that kindergarten wasn't the best fit for me--I didn't think that was the grade I wanted when I accepted the job, but I am still glad that I did. People have told me that if you can teach kindergarten, you can teach anything, so I'll let you know if there is a shred of truth in that statement next year. I love working with that age group, but I have realized that what I am more excited to teach are things more fitted to upper grades.

As tough as this year has been though, moving to full day and having some darling little behavior challenges that no one had answers for, kinder graduation made me almost forget that I don't want to teach kindergarten again. We start practicing for graduation at the beginning of May, and it sounds early to practice sitting, singing some songs, and shaking some hands, but boy did we need to, and boy did the kids do wonderful.

One student's mom told me her kid kept asking if she could take me and all of her friends to 1st grade. Another student came up to me after everything was over to tell me she didn't want to go to another classroom, she wanted to stay with me. Another mom thanked me for working with her student, even though she knew he was a tough kid. She went on to say that she told her sister when her sister's son is in kindergarten, I'm the teacher she wants. And I didn't have the heart to tell her that I wasn't going to be back next year. It was such a positive end of the year, that despite all of my insecurities of teaching, I left feeling successful. I left knowing that all of my ups and downs were worth it--that I CAN teach, and I CAN teach kindergarten. It was a good way to end the year, even though goodbyes suck, and it makes me sad that I won't get to watch my little kinders grow into little people who can function in society.

For now, it's enough. I'll try to visit next year, just as I've visited my student teaching school (and saw my second graders as big 4th graders), and my AmeriCorps school in Minnesota. I have the summer to figure out what to expect in 4th grade, and to visit another school--it's my 5 year college reunion in a week and it will be nice to let myself have a vacation away from my boxed up classroom that has invaded my living room, and the pressures to research school stuff. Happy Summer!

1 comment:

  1. As your next-classroom-door neighbor for two years, I feel I have the authority to report that you not only TAUGHT TAUGHT kindergarten in more challenging environment than most teachers are ever lucky enough to experience. You TAUGHT students who until kindergarten had been speaking a different language at home and had no idea what structure looked like; you TAUGHT them their letters and sounds and numbers and how to sit and how to listen and how to be loved even when they aren't acting very lovable. You can TEACH like a boss, Amy, and you're going to be amazing to those lucky 4th graders in Vacaville. Teach on! :)