Monday, July 7, 2014

Goodbyes and Letting Goes

I was digging through my keepsakes recently, and I came across a large, poster-size, good luck card that students and teachers at my first school made for me.  It was basically done yearbook style with each person writing a message to me before signing it.  Sigh.  A big part of teaching is saying goodbye and letting go.  Sometimes a student moves away midyear or switches schools.  Sometimes a student graduates and leaves for their next step, and sometimes a teacher decides to make a career change of sorts.  This affects not only the students, but also the colleagues.

It has been a while since I last reflected on the nature of a teacher's constant goodbyes.  A big part of teaching is forming relationships, working closely with colleagues and students, all with one purpose of academic and social-emotional success.

The things that my students wrote to me on that card were so touching and important to remember.  In the darkest moments of teaching, in the battles that are sometimes faught and when it seems like hope may not really be present, I am reminded of the lasting impressions made.  While I haven't been able to personally close the achievement gap, children have learned from me and I from them.  And just like the late, great Maya Angelou said: people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel

As I reflect on the final day of this school year that I truly thought would never end, I am grateful once again. I have taught; I've reflected; and I've grown. Isn't that what it's all about?  While I have decided to move on to a new teaching position, I know that my last two years teaching sixth grade-- working with colleagues, problem solving culture issues and eventually trying new things-- contributed to my growth as an educator, and most importantly as a person.  With that, I will be taking all that I've learned and continue on my professional journey in a new setting, with the acceptance that a large part of teaching is saying goodbye and letting go.

Until next time,
Miss M

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