Tomorrow is my last day as a teacher for a very long time. This is a weird weird thing for me. I’ve taught for 7 years now at the same little school. I’ve seen 2 groups of 6th graders now from day 1 of first grade. My classroom has been the backdrop for some terrible horrible no good very bad days as well as a place where amazing and joyful, sometimes even healing things have happened. My kids went from not being able to sing hardly at all to having classrooms full of singing leaders who compose just amazing things and make musical decisions during their music-making. I went from being someone who was very fluent in my own instrument but scared of my own shadow into becoming someone who really understands the PROCESS of teaching and is comfortable and shockingly funny in front of my students. Each year I’ve set the bar higher and my students have risen to it–and exceeded it when I’ve gotten out of their way long enough to give them space to do so. I’ve always told my 6th graders every year in a cheeky way that is not atypical of me that I will miss most of them. Now, with little exception I think I will miss the vast majority of all of them.
I will miss the social awkwardness of 6th graders, the complete inhibition of 5th graders, the way that 4th graders really dig into work, ALL of the song material of 3rd grade, the beautiful, bell-like qualities in 2nd graders’ voices, and the hugs, quirkiness, joy, and general sweetness of 1st graders.
I know what I am gaining in staying home to raise this little one is well worth the sacrifice, but I know that this change will not be without sadness for me. I’ve worked hard to learn to love my students. The Lord has changed my heart towards many of them and for that I am truly grateful. I hope I’ve taught them something in return. I know they will miss me too. At any rate, they ARE excited for me and this is what they are looking forward to (this BTW is very eloquently expressed by a 2nd grader):