I cried for the first time yesterday. It hit me so hard that this is it. Life’s decisions lead to life’s changes. Where I teach the 6th grade graduation includes a wonderful class performance. The students sing, dance and participate in skits. It is delightful and they are amazing. Kudos always to their home room teachers and others who adapt the lyrics, music and dance numbers! For many years a teacher number was included, but not recently. This year however since seven members of our school community were retiring, the clever teachers wrote individualized lyrics to So Long, Farewell from the Sound of Music. So yesterday was the dress rehearsal for the whole school. Many of these 6th graders were my kinders. My heart burst with pride as I watched with awe and amazement their inspiring performances. Our retiree number was sweet and heartfelt. Some glitches but no one cared. After our number we went back to our seats. This was the first time I had seen the whole show. I sat with some colleagues and realized this is it for me. Their last number brought me out of denial. (Even as I write this post my eyes tear over and the lump in my throat is quite uncomfortable.) The finality of it hit home and the tears flowed freely. It was time to let them go. My kinders were further behind me and didn’t see the tears at first. As they were heading back to class they came behind me giving me so many incredible hugs, not letting go. And the tears kept on coming. Colleagues and administrators just knew what all this meant for me and their love and support once again showed what an amazing place this is! So I pulled my self together and headed back to class. It was time for snack and dismissal. Life goes on, doesn’t it? But two little girls couldn’t stop crying. They felt overwhelmed, confused and didn’t understand why I had to retire. Nor did they want to leave kindergarten – their home, this place of love and understanding. I shared with them and others that tears and sadness are okay. “In life we balance the tears with the joy. They come in a package. The tears show you care, they help you accept the times of happiness with the times of sadness. We care, not only about ourselves, but about others. That’s what’s special about all of this: our life’s journeys.” Sunday is the 6th Grade graduation. It is about them. Time to celebrate them and their families. Wednesday, June 10th, 2015 our kinders graduate. My last one. It will be so bittersweet, but it is about the kinders and their families. It is time to celebrate the kindergarteners.
I know mine is a special ending this year. How do you say good bye to your classes? How do you share your feelings? How do you make room for your students to share and show what is on their minds now that school is almost over?