Wednesday, March 17, 2010
Saying goodbye to another set of kids
Do other teachers fear being forgotten? Is it just something selfish that I worry about?
I think a lot about my first set of students, my kindergartners that will be entering the third grade this year. Do any of them remember that chaotic school year, the day we made coca cola explode by mixing Mentos in it, or how we would count by threes while doing jumping jacks? Do they remember those days when I was so frustrated and angry and flicking the lights on and off to get their attention? When I think about those moments, I kind of hope they're normal kids who have already forgotten kindergarten.
My second graders used to call me when I was in grad school. I loved hearing from them. Now they are almost fifth graders! I don't hear from them anymore, but I wonder if I had any positive impact on them. Are they reading books they might not have if I hadn't introduced them to certain books. I really put my soul into reading that year, in some ways more than I have as an actual reading instructor with my high schoolers.
Tomorrow, I will say goodbye to my teen girls. Some of them, I will honestly be glad not to interact with ever again, but there are so many that I already miss and I hate that I won't know what happens to them. I won't know if the pregnant students continue to pursue a diploma after their babies arrive, or if the ones with boyfriends in jail continue to "stand by" their men, or what the next crazy trend that sweeps the school will be. Not knowing what will happen to these girls makes me crazy!
When I taught elementary school there were certain students that I wanted to adopt and protect and shower with love because something in their little souls resonated deeply within me. And this is to be expected with small children. They have that puppy like cuteness that you have to be made of stone not to respond to. But teenagers?
They're like the not cute anymore older cats that require expensive veterinarian treatments, that aren't meant for homes with children and other animals, and that hiss at you when you try to pick them up. Who would want to adopt them?
And yet, when one student jokingly asked if I wanted to adopt her my heart leapt. If I could, I would adopt her and her daughter!
Since I've met Danny, one of our biggest disagreements has been over whether or not we should adopt children. Obviously, I'm in favor of the idea. If he was to know that I wanted to start our life together with a teenage girl and her toddler tagging along he might seriously question this jaunt down the alter we'll be taking in 16 days!