Wednesday, May 9, 2012

2, 4, 6, 8, Who do we appreciate?

You!  You!  You!  J
Hooray for teachers!  You inspire the young hearts and minds by believing in them and helping them succeed and there’s no greater gift than that!  Thank you, thank you, thank you!!!!
I hope that you are feeling extra appreciated and special this week.  I know I sure am!  On Monday we were treated to Starbucks and today we were served lunch – a tasty baked potato bar!  And if you know me, I LOVE my baked potatoes!  J 
Besides all of the goodies and tasty treats, the thing that I love most and feel most appreciated by is my students.  There are times where I feel like I want to pull my hair out, cry, and/or scream because of extreme frustration, however, I’ve realized just how precious my students are.  They care about me and each other and truly want to learn.  Looking back, those little moments are the ones that glimmer and shine through all the negative things.  I am so fortunate and unbelievably blessed that I have had the opportunity to work with such an amazing group of children.  They have inspired me to be a better teacher and have made an enormous difference in my life.  They are the reason why I teach. 
Sadly, the days I get to spend with these kiddos are numbered.  The last day of school is just 11 school days away (say what?!?)!  We already started benchmark testing, which means I already had to say goodbye to some of my groups.  L  This past Friday marked the last day I would spend with my 2nd grade group.  I had a special day planned for them since they had worked so hard over the course of the year.  Little did I know that they had some surprises for me…
We usually start each class period with 2 minutes of “share time.”  Since the students come from different classes and have all sorts of exciting things going on in their lives, I figured that this would be a good way to help build community.  Students usually ask me before class if they can share, which I then pick two students and give them each one minute to share anything they’d like.  Things shared range from activities done over the weekend, family pictures, book recommendations, and comedy acts.  The kids absolutely love it and it has made a huge difference in promoting a positive classroom atmosphere.
Anyways… it was time to share on our very last day together when almost every hand in the room shot up wanting to speak.  Since it was our last day, I decided that it would be ok to let everyone share.  We had a few typical sharings and then two girls insisted on being last.  They had one student hold their creation while they both read what was written in unison:
“I will miss you so much.  You will become a fourth grade teacher but I wish you could stay with us.  You are so funny and creative.  You are a teacher that I love in my life.  Also you are smart and fun.  I love you.”
I’m not one to cry very easily, but how could you not tear up after a moment like that?!?  Looking back at the first few days with this group, I wasn’t sure if we’d make it to the end of the year (we got off to a very rough start).  But by the end, we had accomplished so much!  Our class had developed such a tight-knit bond (I even had a few kiddos crying real tears because they didn’t want to leave)!  This year was filled with transformational moments – with a family as the end result.  I love them and will never forget them! 
I know that each and every one of my students will go on to do amazing things in their lives.  I just feel so fortunate that I got to be one little piece of their incredibly large journey.  They’ve shown so much progress over the course of just this year, so I can’t wait to see what their future holds. 
It is my hope that each and every one of my students continues to learn and grow every day.  Christopher Plummer (from the Sound of Music) couldn’t have put it any better when he sang Edelweiss, “May you bloom and grow, bloom and grow forever!”  That is exactly what I want my children to do – bloom and grow forever!  I hope that each of them will come to realize that learning is a lifelong journey!