Our school has a tradition called “Fifth Grade Day,” to celebrate graduating 5th graders into middle school. Parents plan and implement Fifth Grade Day, with a delicious breakfast in the classroom, followed by an award ceremony and outdoor games. The day wraps up with a memory montage video and farewell parade through the school hallways.
I thought it would be just another fun and busy day for my kids but by the end of the day, I knew I had it all wrong. I wrote an email to my husband about the experience.
I’m a big crying mess right now. I managed to not be emotional all day because it was just fun. Then the kids start crying at the end of the day and the parents became emotional with me about how I’ve influenced their child. I’m really sad to see all of my babies go. I’ll see them Monday but that’s only one more day. Writing about them and deeply connecting with them has changed my experience as a teacher. I’ve always been happy to see my kids move on at the end of the year, but now I feel I’m in mourning. Memories are more vivid of my whole year because I’ve been completely present.
I really did not anticipate, nor could I have foreseen, how much I would love my students this year. I’ve always loved my students and worked diligently to support them. But writing about them and really focusing on their needs this time around, I’ve grown to know them fully as individuals. In creating a joyful teaching experience for me, I fell in love with 25 beautiful souls.
Here’s what I’ll miss about my students as we begin the summer. I hope you’ll find a few that resonate with you.
- Groggy morning smiles. Nothing starts my school day like seeing half-asleep children walk into my classroom. I greet them at the door to wish them good morning. Most of them offer me a sleepy smile in return. I’ll miss the 25 smiles every morning.
- Laughter. My students laughed a lot this year, on the playground and off. A child’s laughter resounds with me as much as wind chimes outside my bedroom window. It’s melodic and inspiring. Music can’t replace it.
- “Aha!” moments. The look of gears turning in their brains fuels my passion for teaching. Then the expression of pure joy and excitement when they finally get it makes my heart sing. That is priceless.
- Hugs. At the beginning of year, I received many end of the day hugs from my fifth graders. But even though fewer students hugged me later in the year (because it wasn’t cool and most have hopped on the puberty train) I will still miss those that did.
Do any of these resonate with you? Will you miss the smiles, laughter, and hugs? If you do, you know you are in the right place. We’ll experience many joys this summer and get our much deserved and needed rest, but there’s nothing like being a teacher during the school year. For all of my fellow teachers, I hope you have a wonderful summer and look forward to all your future hugs, smiles, “aha!” moments, and laughter. That too is what being teacher is all about!