I know it's been a few weeks since I posted last, and I really wanted to post about some things we have been up to in the classroom, but I feel more compelled to share my story of what’s been going on the last few weeks and why my blog has been so neglected. I hope you don’t mind that this will be more of a personal post...
First thing, this year has been an emotional roller coaster for me. Our team started the year with four teachers and even from the first day we could see that we were going to have more kids enrolled this year than ever before, and our classrooms were filling up. New kids kept arriving and new desks were brought in. The way our classrooms are designed does not allow for many students, so the space was tight. While we waited patiently for a new teacher to be hired to relieve us from our large class sizes, our team was on stress overload.
Then the magical day came. We hired an amazing new teacher- new to the profession and willing to take on the challenge that our students present. But along with that, came the dreaded day that I had to tell five of my students that I would no longer be their teacher and that they were being moved to the new teacher’s class. Heart breaking.
After the new teacher was hired, he had a few days to observe the kids, get his room together, and learn the ropes. He would start with his new class the following Monday. I had until Friday to give the news to the kids. They would be meeting with their new teacher then to see their new classroom, their new classmates, and get situated before the real switch came.
I put it off all week. I waited until literally the very last second I had to tell them the news. I told myself that I wouldn’t cry. I had gotten to know these sweet students and they were mine. I didn’t want them to think they had done anything wrong or had been chosen for any specific reason. I told myself that it would be better for them. I knew it would. I wasn’t going to cry in front of them. The teacher can’t cry in front of her students!
But the moment came. I pulled them to the back of the room and sat them on the carpet and pulled them close. I smiled and said, “Ok guys, I have some great news for you! As you know, we have a lot of children in our classroom and we are running out of space. Well, we have hired a new teacher and you guys are the lucky ones that will be in his class!” I forced a smile. I tried to sound excited- I really did. But instead, I cried. As much as I fought the tears and tried to hold them back, they came anyway. Then they cried. We hugged and cried together. Then I pulled them closer and gave them a speech about how even though they wouldn’t be sitting in my classroom every day, I will always be one of their teachers and that they better come tell me good morning every single day. I told them I would still be checking in on them. I smiled and told them how lucky they were to have a new teacher and how much he already cared about them. We sat there together for a few minutes with tear-soaked smiles. And then I sent them out the door.
I had to go to the restroom and pull myself together before I could go on with the rest of the day.
You know, it amazes me how every year I become so attached to my students so early on. Every child has a piece of my heart from the moment they introduce themselves. Just having to send them one door away to a new classroom was heart wrenching. I expected the process to be difficult, but it has been more emotional than I had imagined.
That was two weeks ago. The dust has settled and the kids are adjusting well. We are training our newbie like crazy and he’s doing a great job. We couldn’t have asked for a better teammate. But I can’t say it’s been easy.
Teaching is such a dynamic profession. No two days are ever alike, and that’s what I love about it. This year I’m learning to “go with the flow” more than I ever have before. Some things have taken a back seat- my blog being one of them. But even at the end of each day, I know I wouldn’t be happy doing any other job. And as my favorite character says, “Just keep swimming!”