Thursday, June 27, 2013

End of the School Year Goodbyes

Sometimes the end of the year means saying goodbye. Goodbye to students moving on or saying goodbye to an old school for a new one.  Over the seven years I've been teaching middle school, I've said goodbye in several ways for several different reasons.

During my first year teaching a self contained class of all rough boys and one tough girl, there was the angry kid who was sent to a district seventy five school. It was only the third month of school, but already I saw him and could only hope as I said goodbye that he would be okay in life.

From then on I began to say goodbye regularly-- from graduating students leaving the school, to students moving in the middle of the year and preferred colleagues moving on to bigger and better, or just new schools. 

The hardest goodbye of them all occurred during the last week of my sixth year teaching.  Saying goodbye to my then group of eighth graders who I had taught for two years in a small setting, while saying goodbye to the school where I began my teaching career and where I truly grew as an individual and a professional was hard.  Yet,it was bittersweet because it meant moving on from a school where I felt stagnant. It allowed movement. Bittersweet because my students were also moving up and moving on.  It was the perfect transition.

And of course there are the students you teach and when you reach the end of the school year, you're happy that they've moved on to be taught by somebody else.  One particular student showed up in that July dream I always have after the school year is over about school, and I literally woke up from that dream to reject that encounter. 

So how does a teacher say goodbye? To students, with a hug or a handshake. Maybe an encouraging note in a student's yearbook and if your school allows it and it's been a particularly great year, with party. To colleagues, a hug if they're the hugging type, by sharing contacts, and with a smile and bittersweet words.

Miss M

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