NO LONGER IN DENIAL

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.

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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?

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6 Responses to NO LONGER IN DENIAL

  1. Sisqitman says:

    I have to admit, Faige, that your post brought tears to my eyes. Next year, my wife will go through her final days as a full-time 3rd-grade teacher and we’ll walk through that together. And when you see those 6th-graders, you really do see Kinders, too. My wife, who started as a jr. high teacher at a Christian school, is at a birthday party of a former student from her first years. They still honor her as her teacher, and I’m sure many of your students and their parents will do the same. Congratulations on a life well spent with children.

    • faige says:

      Last week my school had a beautiful reception for the retirees. So many alumni parents and students (over 21 because of drinks served) came. Some I have not seen for more than 20 years. So many memories and catching up. My son, daughter, husband and friends were also their to celebrate with me. Wishing your wife all the best.

  2. S. Parker says:

    Faige,
    I am so happy to have found your blog! I have spent some time reading over your amazing journey as an education. Goodbyes are always hard. I can only imagine the final one. I cried yesterday as I said goodbye to my Kinders. My little ones were a bit confused as they were happy it was summer. But, I had to explain that it was a cry of joy as I love them so. Here’s to retirement!

    • faige says:

      Thank you for reading and commenting. Not sure what’s next but know I will find a good road again! Are you on Twitter? My handle is @dubioseducator

  3. Wonderful post. I just spent some time today with a teacher who is finally retiring after 41 years in the classroom. I wonder how I will let go of that last class?

    • faige says:

      Thank you for reading this one as well. It’s hard to let go. Many of my posts connect my classroom teaching experience to life. Not sure what’s next. For many reasons it was a hard year to say goodbye.

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