Thursday, May 13, 2010

Kleenex...




It's already beginning. This morning, while practicing our songs for the end of the year celebration performance, I looked out at my kids and felt my eyes well up with tears. I looked at them through different eyes today, realizing how little time we have left together. With only 19 school days left, and with me about to embark on a new journey at a different school, I suddenly felt overwhelmed. I realized that while normally I have the wonderful privilege of getting hugs and visits from former students, I won't have that with these adorable little guys.  They keep saying how they just want to stay in kindergarten with me, "I don't want to gwaduate, I just want to stay with you," and when I tell them how they will love first grade they then leap to, "Well, we can visit you right?"  I somehow nod and realize that I need to tell them soon, but when? and how? Then today, M. randomly asks me, "Mrs. Young, my brother will be in your class when he's in kindergarten, right?" Somehow I mutter a soft "I don't know" and luckily she leaves the topic alone.  (Her mother, by the way, already knows the news;the day I told her she told me she would go home and cry for her son.)
So, how do I tell them that I won't be here next year for a high five or a hug on the playground? Surely I can't be that important anyway, right? I know it may seem strange, but in Kindergarten we grow strong attachments as we make our way through milestones like turning 5, losing our first teeth and learning to read!
Today I told their parents about my plans in our weekly newsletter. I mentioned that I would be telling the kids after our assessments are over. I suppose I will need to tell them sooner. I had planned on waiting until there were about 2 weeks of school left, but I don't want to lie about next year. I didn't realize how much they would be planning ahead, thinking of how they will stop by and "surprise me."
I am trying to savor these last moments with them; doing assessments each day and watching their beaming faces as they proudly pass reading levels. I am staying in the moment, recording the funny things they say and celebrating the amazing discoveries they make.
Teaching kindergarten is certainly not for the faint-hearted, and I am surely going to miss it.  If you have any thoughts on the best way to share my news with my kids, please leave a comment.

5 comments:

Carl said...

Ok, I am having trouble thinking about my 8th graders moving on to HS and then you post this.. There is no way I could teach primary as I found out that I become even more attached to younger ones.

Don't worry, you will figure out the best way and time to tell them, just provide ample tissue.

Joan Young (aka Mancini) said...

Thanks so much. I bet it's hard to watch those 8th graders move on to the big world of HS. I will find a way yes, and I will be sure to stay in touch with families.

PEOPLEGOGY said...

Wow... One of your best entries. You are an amazing teacher and an better human being. Your students were blessed to have you, and as you move forward on to your next journey, I want you to remember why you chose your current direction. Likewise, I want you to continue to love and teach with the same fervor that makes you who you are.

Joan Young (aka Mancini) said...

Thanks so much Will. ( @peoplegogy) I appreciate your support and affirmation of the teaching journey. I do remind myself of the reasons I am moving on and it helps with the transition! Thanks again!

Aviva said...

Wow! What a great blog post. I don't know if you've told your students yet or not, but I will say that I've been in this same situation many times in the past, and I think that I've felt much like you do now. It's hard to tell the students that you're going. What I continue to remind myself of is that as hard as it will be to say the news and for your students to hear the news, children at this age are resilient, and they do tend to deal better with change than we, as adults, do. At least this has been my experience.

When I've told my students about moving before, I've been up front with them, and mentioned that there will be a wonderful new teacher coming to the school, and that they'll have a great year next year. I have also been understanding when they've gotten upset, and been honest enough to show that I'm upset too. My students have seen me cry before in a situation such as this, and while at the time I wish that I hadn't, I think that my honesty helped the students feel as though they could be honest too. I then gave the parents of the students my e-mail address, and I told the students that they could always e-mail me a "hello," and I would write them back too. Over the years, I've heard from a couple of the students from time to time, but I think that if anything, the fact that the students felt as though they could keep in touch if they wanted to, helped them cope better with this change.

Good luck! I have no doubt that your students will miss you, as you are obviously a very special teacher. That said, I also have no doubt that your new school is very happy (and very lucky) to be getting you! Best of luck on your new teaching and learning adventure!