I had to say goodbye to my 5th graders last Friday. Goodbye to the 80 colleagues I have spent 5 years of trials and moments of glory with. Goodbye to the woman who has vacuumed my classroom floor for 2 years. Goodbye to sharing a wall with the same fateful friend or 5 years. Goodbye to my classroom, where I started as a first year teacher.
My joke for the day was to walk by frowning faces and strong hugs and say, “Summer break!” The only given phrase that will always make any teacher or student smile….or roll their eyes.
I held my tears back until the last bell of the day. The kids swarmed me with hugs and I had to shoo them away before their buses left without them. My heart felt very heavy that I had to leave them before the school year was over. I promise this, I did give them every piece of me for the time that I was with them. I know that their substitute will have a rough time with this group, she has no idea how special they all are. I still miss them now.
The regular happy hour crew met me for one last “PBA FAC.” Everyone signed an umbrella for me, fitting for Portland. One teacher friend, “Little Lammie” gathered notes and pictures from students in all grade levels in the school. I still haven’t opened the cards, but I appreciate everyone who helped make that day special. I needed even the smallest supportive gesture more than you know.
Now, one hard part, my last day at work in Denver, is over.