I told Joel last night that I felt like I had broken up with someone. It was the same sort of feeling I had when I left Spain, although this one seems more meaningful.
He said he felt the same way last week.
We had to both say goodbye to our first classes of students. And there is a real feeling of loss associated with that.
Maybe we won't feel this way every year, but these classes were special to us.
Honestly, I don't think I have ever been in a classroom environment that special. I felt like every child was really known, and with three adults in the classroom full-time, we could better meet their needs. Parental involvement was high, and I think it was because the parents caught on to what the classroom was all about. We had an amazing man come in volunteer with the boys who needed reading help.
I remember one parent from another class really hated coming to our class. I couldn't understand it. She hated the noise and "unruliness" of our kids.
It is true, our class was extremely loud. Some days it would just frustrate me so much! I could not understand how a group of children could make so much noise, and seem incapable of quieting down. But they were so inquisitive, really really bright kids. They asked the best questions and got really excited about science and math and reading their favorite books to you.
It reminds me of this Brian Andreas story (which I gave to my cooperating teacher yesterday in a card, and we cried):
There are lives I can imagine without children but none of them have the same laughter & noise.
And it made me sad that she never got it. It wasn't about their volume and maybe lack of discipline. At 6 years old, they accomplished so much. And while they never sat still or responded to any "quieting down" signals (up until the last day of school), they were really free to learn in their own ways. There was very little whole group instruction or seat work. The majority of the day was spent in small groups, and I think that was the key to just really knowing each one individually. And I really truly think they got a lot of love from us. Kids who hated school in kindergarten and got negative reports from teachers flourished in this room. Isn't that more important? I am so thankful that my teacher taught me how to look at the big picture, the end goal.
Today, Joel and I took his students out around Raleigh. After yesterday's emotions and today's "lots of new people," I am exhausted. But I honestly think he is a wonderful teacher, and I hope his students realize how lucky they are to have him.
I'm so excited for my own class next year.
But now, I'm excited for vacation.