How do you get to be so close to a group of students...and then suddenly let them go?! It's a hard thing to reconcile, that's for sure. But it's the major benny of the job, from my point of view. Summers off? Well, that is a huge benefit. But...it's the deep bond that I've had with my kids that keeps the passion alive in me.
I hate saying good-bye. Last week, we all stood quietly waiting while the last announcement blurred over the loudspeaker. Then we noticed him...Jeeves, at the back of the room with the hiccups, green cap pulled down over his eyes to hide his tears. One kid called out his name, and then we all started crying! This was the very first time this happened to me. Kids get emotional every year, laughing and crying is a part of it all. But usually we burst out that door together, ready to leap toward summer and what that means to us all.
This year was so different. I was twirled around and passed from one kid to the next, feeling like a worn-out sock by the time they were done with me. And now? My kids, their faces and the memories still float around in my brain. Like a familiar song, I just can't shake them out of my head. I'm actually glad about that, though. I'm savoring before I let go. Looking over old pictures, journaling a little too.
Many people comment on how good we teachers have it. Summers off, killer benefits...and the huge salaries. Well, I couldn't agree with them more. I need the next seven weeks to restore my emotional gas tank, to savor the benefits of those old bonds and make room for the new ones that will surely follow...and the salaries? Well, I'm livin' large for 183 days! I have lots of promises for return visits from last year's students, and that will someday that might really pay off. So, yup...best job in the world, and overpaid all the way! Rock on, summer of 2010! Oh, how I've missed you.