Good first--I went to an eighth-grade graduation today. It was good. I was invited by the mother of a former student who seems to think that I was a big source of help to her and her son. The mother is one of my heroes. I wish I had the strength she has. The son is sensational. He has been one of my favorite kids ever since the day he and another third-grade boy made a drawing of a space creature. When I asked him what the name of the creature was, he replied, "Poop." I asked him where it was from. His reply, "Uranus." I honestly believe the child had no idea what he had said. I still have Poop on my refrigerator, although he made it almost five years ago.
The mother gave me far more credit than I deserve for the way I had encouraged her son. Truthfully, all I did was love the boy. I recognized some of his potential and realized that some of the things "every third grader needs to know" were things he already knew or had no need for. One day while he was in my class, his mom had serious neck surgery. He was rightfully very worried about her. That day he spent the entire school day outside the open door to my classroom stretched out on the floor and reading a book. I knew there was no way he could attend to whatever lesson I was trying to teach. He seemed to appreciate the privilege, and I know I didn't have to discipline him at all. In the years after that, he often came to my room for a quick chat or a hug. I think he sensed that I genuinely liked him as a person. I did then, I do now, and I intend to like and support him in the future. I know God has great things in store for him.
Now the bad: I finally went back into the school this evening to get "my stuff". (Like all you are saying, all she needs is more stuff!) ((That is even more ridiculous in the light of the fact that I took a carload of stuff to Faye's house last week for her yard sale!)) A good friend convinced me that I should take my things before the scavengers got to them. That way I could be sure that they were where I wanted them to be, especially since I had paid for them with my own money. I didn't want to do that at first. I had bought almost all of that stuff for my little children at school, and I wanted them to be able to use it. However, when I got to the school, I saw that all the materials I had bought had been stored away in the closets or file cabinets and weren't being used. After seeing that, I had no qualms about getting them out of there. For one thing, Faye can use some of them for Amber and Gracie, and I can use others with Alex and Mapoopis. This was good material, folks, things carefully selected to appeal to special needs children (and most young children, for that matter). It was a draining experience.
And last (and least) the ugly. I am sitting here wrapped up in a blanket because I am exhausted, both physically and emotionally. I don't know why doing something like moving those things should be so exhausting, but it was. I guess it was just another realization that that door is closed and will never be open again. I looked at the names of the sweet, sweet children whom I would never teach again and had ugly thoughts about their future. The ugly thoughts have to go. I must realize that just because I wanted to work with the children differently does not mean that my way was the only way or the best way. I must realize that someone else can love them and guide them better than I could. I just don't want to let their sweet faces or sweet spirits go. I want them to be able to develop the same kind of friendship with their teacher that Poop's creator had with me, and I am afraid that might not happen. I want them to feel respected and loved, that they are worthwhile human beings. I must realize that there are other teachers who can love them and respect them, and I must be willing to let those teachers work with them. I have to get over this, people. Here I am, crying again, and it's been months since I left that classroom. I knew there was a reason I hadn't been there before now, and I probably should have stayed away.
Back to the good again: My great, great friend, who stayed after school to help me box up my teaching days. I will always love and respect that friend. Thank you is not enough. Friendship with that person is one thing I took away from school that I will always treasure. Good bye, and God bless.