The children have raced from their former classrooms toward home with jubilant anticipation of next year’s journey. Now, the tired, reminiscent teacher rests thinking of all the previous year’s accomplishments, joys, tears, and especially the humor of it all.
My mind travels back to the day of a kindergarten graduation over a decade ago. A little five year old boy bounced into my classroom with a blue jar of liquid. He proudly grinned, “It’s a gift from my mom! She said it’s Miracle Gro. But, teacher what does that mean?” I returned the smile and explained, “It’s something that you can put on your flowers and make them grow real big and tall.” He squinted his eyes and questioned, “Teacher is that what your mom used on you?” I chuckled knowing that he was wondering if it was something he should try. I said, “No, she didn’t need to.”
Teachers always want to know that they made a difference in a child’s life. I believe that’s the first reason we go into the profession. This year, I was disappointed to think that a child had gone through my classroom and left it hating school. I read the sentence he had written and took it to heart. There in plain English were the words, “I hate school.” How could this five year old feel this way about MY classroom? I had taught him to write, to read, and to add. I had purposefully made my classroom a safe haven and as much fun as possible. However, for some reason this child hated school! This really bothered me… until his last day of school. It was then that I found out, he loved my classroom perhaps more than any of the other students. For on that last day, when all the other students got their report cards and went home, this fellow stayed the entire day with me. His mother begged him to go, yet he chose to stay! It was then that I learned the truth. He didn’t hate school, he hated getting up early to come to school! I told him I felt the same way!
Each year, I tell my students that I am like an adopted mother. I realize I spend more time during the weekday with them than their parents do. My co-workers feel the same way. We love them, we teach them, inspire them, and instill a dose of self-worth in them. We have, on many occasions, gone to battle for them. Finally, during the summer, when they have moved on, they take a piece of our heart with them.