The end of another year has come. Amidst the jokes between the rest of the staff and myself about how long it seemed to be taking was also a great sadness. Once again, I had to say goodbye to my students. And though I was ready to sleep in (at least a little), go to the beach, catch up on the jobs around the house that have piled up over the year, and read, I was not ready to let them go.
What a year we've had in first grade. Blessed with not only a small class (class size DOES matter and anyone who says differently is either lying or not a teacher, but that's another discussion), but also supportive parents and amazing interventionists, I was able to spend most of my time teaching and working with kids instead of focusing on the many other issues that all too often take up our time. As a result, this group made more gains than any I've ever had. By far. So many gains, in fact, that every one of them rose to our now extremely rigorous standards and is reading at or very close to grade level.
And I loved them. Not just a few, not just liked them, or pretended I did because sometimes that's part of our job. No, I loved them. They were funny, smart, dedicated, great listeners, and kind. In short, my dream class.
So, yesterday, I held back tears as I told them that I will see them in the halls next year, to try to remember to come back when they're older to say hello, and that if they ever need anything that I will try to help. We lined up for the last time and I hugged each of them. One girl was openly crying. She put her scrawny little arms around my waist and said, "I'm scared I'll forget you." I hugged her back and assured her that she wouldn't.
Well, the truth is, she's six. So she might. They all might. But I won't. Carry on, little friends. And dream big.
Teachers, hold on to these stories. We all have them. And those are the memories I keep in my heart. Not test scores and data. Not agendas and paperwork. Now, if you are lucky enough to actually have it, go enjoy your time off.
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