These last few days have been a whirlwind of emotions and things to do. My school year is over and with that came the ending of so many things. Saying goodbye to your friends and a place you called your second home after six years is a difficult thing to do...but this year has been different. I don't think I ever fully felt like I was back at school after I returned from my maternity leave. Of course I put in 100% effort ever day, but my heart and mind were with my new daughter and learning how to be a mother. Those were the things that were most important to me this year...not test scores or learning one more new way to analyze a reading assessment. Maybe that has made it a little bit easier to say goodbye...
We ended our school year with some fun activities- a walk to the neighborhood park. I'm sure we were a sight to see. All 100+ Kindergarten students holding hands, two by two, walking down a very busy street. But we made it safely and enjoyed the hot sun beating down on us. As we walked back we passed the Burger King across from our school. I heard a chorus of little voices begging me to stop. "Are we going to Burger King now?" "Mrs. Wolfe? Can we please stop and get a hamburger!?" Haha :)
We began our last day of school with a lockdown, something that has unfortunately become very normal at my school. I guess it was one last hurrah before sending us off into summer. My small friends came to school dressed in their Sunday best for their very much anticipated Kindergarten Graduation. We had been practicing and practicing for a couple of weeks so our songs would be perfect for our moms and dads...and they were. We always end with the song I'm Gonna Miss You and my classroom suddenly became filled with parents crying, wishing their little Kindergarteners would stay five for just a while longer.
My students were high on sugar and the feeling that summer is coming so we spent our last day of school calmly cleaning up the classroom and saying goodbye. I didn't tell them that I was moving away...I wanted to, but I couldn't find the words. Every year I give my cloud talk during the last few minutes of school. I told my students that I was proud of them and that they are going to do great things in first grade. We sang our goodbye song and when we got to the part that says we are thankful for our teachers I was swarmed by my class. We held each other in a great big hug and I smiled at each of them trying not to let the tears escape my eyes...they are going to do great things, I can feel it.
The staff gathered outside as the buses drove off-it's tradition to wave goodbye to our students on the last day of school. Little arms poked out of the windows waving wildly at their teachers. And soon they were gone and it was quiet.
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I spent the next few days packing up my classroom which was quite the job. I never thought I have accumulated very much stuff, but teachers are notorious for keeping everything...you never know if you'll need that half eaten pencil! But it's finished. My classroom is now empty, waiting for the next group of students to make their mark.
I was one of the last to leave on the teacher workday. I couldn't make myself walk out the door for the last time. I just stood in the middle of my room.
I finally walked over to my piano. I placed my hands on the keys for the last time and played my clean up song, which is a pretty tune from the 1950's about why the birds are singing. I thought about how many times I've played that song...
I closed the piano, picked up my last packed box, and quietly said goodbye.