I got an unexpected card in the mail this week: It was birthday wishes from my 10th grade honors class. The message on the card read, "Some people have talent, some people have charm, and some have wit. You have all of these plus...us."
It made me smile, and it made me miss them.
I never blogged about my last day of teaching. It was a great day. At the beginning of each class, I told the students to get out their tissues because I was going to get sentimental. I said, "You just might shed a tear." (They laughed at that suggestion.) I then told them how much I loved being their teacher and how they all had such bright futures ahead of them. After a few more sappy words, I pulled out a big frosted chocolate chip cookie that said "Thank you" on it, and they rejoiced, and that was the end of sentimentality.
We ate and talked and partied. A few of my 7th period boys got up and did a dance for us to Britney Spears' "Toxic." (So random!) In 8th period, we played "Would You Rather." In 5th period, I'm sorry to say that they had to finish their Scarlet Letter presentations, so our party was quite brief. (Sorry, Honors kids!)
I was surprised that at the end of every class period, one of the students said, "Are we allowed to give you hugs?" I didn't expect that even the macho boys would want to hug me, but they did--so I let them.
At the end of the day, the bell rang, and everyone left, and I sat at my desk and looked around my classroom and thought, "Can it really be over?"
And then I felt very very sad.
A few days later, at my "work" baby shower, one of the teachers gave me the name plate from off my classroom door. She said, "We thought you would want to keep this as a momento." It was meant to be a thoughtful gesture, and I am appreciative, but I must admit, it hurt my heart a little bit to realize that my students won't even see my name on the door anymore. Overdramatic, I know, but I felt so...I don't know...easily replaced and forgotten?
But then I got their card in the mail, and I realized that they haven't forgotten me--and I certainly haven't forgotten them. I still tell stories about my students on a daily basis. Yesterday, someone asked me (jokingly of course), if I remember the day of my birth. That reminded me of a certain student who approached me after class on the first day of school, and said, "You're originally from Colorado? I am too! I love Colorado." I responded, "Oh yeah? When did you live there?" She said, "The first two weeks of my life, and I remember it so vividly and fondly. I even remember the hospital where my mom gave birth to me."
She was not kidding.
Oh, I will miss them.