Wednesday, May 19, 2010
Just Enough Information
I had been waiting for the right moment, simultaneously knowing that there really wouldn't be a "right moment." Yesterday, I told my students that I would not be teaching at our school next year. Looking out at the group who previously chatted incessantly, suddenly I could hear the sound of my own breathing. Confused little faces looked up at me and silence was broken by questions blurted at me like rapid-fire. "Will we see you again?" "Can you come visit us?" "How will we know where to find you?" I did my best to reassure the bewildered little ones that I would make an effort to come back and visit and would definitely stay in touch by email. One of my students who has a well-earned reputation for speaking his mind, raised his hand. "I am just gonna miss you," he squeaked out before his voice cracked and his eyes began to well up. "Can we just talk about something else now? 'cause C. and I are gonna start cryin'" I agreed and we moved on to another topic. The atmosphere returned to its almost normal lively noise as kids picked a book to take home and packed up for the day. Their big question: "Who is going to take Mr. Monkey?" Our monkey puppet who has graced us by greeting each student during our good morning song, would, of course, need a new home. We decided that our "other teacher", my intern, Miss H. would take him, since she will likely be teaching young kids when she gets a job. I am moving to a new grade, 4th grade in a new school, so my kids somehow did not think Mr. Monkey would be needed there.
I know more questions will come, tears may flow, and I will give my kids the answers they want and support they need when they need it. In times of change, we just need to listen and honor where they are, giving just the right amount of information to instill safety and security and not too much to overwhelm them.