Another year in the books and summer vacation is here! As I sit at my desk and look back at the year, I have a smile on my face. You’re probably wondering how on earth I could smile about this past year with being in a pandemic and all. There were many challenges that faculty, schools, families, and students had to deal with. However, we made it with God’s hand leading us to the finish line.
The end of any school year is always a sweet farewell. I’ve been with these children for approximately nine months. In between the lessons taught, I’ve had the opportunity to learn more and more about each child as if they were my own. I’ve learned what makes them happy, sad, angry, upset, frustrated, who they are, and who they have the potential to become. Even though I look forward to summer, I’m never quite ready to end our school year together.
As our last day of 3rd grade begins, students come into the classroom buzzing, smiling, and chatting about their summer plans. They are excited about what the future has in store for them. That conversation quickly changes as we begin our last day. We spend our last few hours together making a poster collage with pictures of different activities of the year. Pictures of field trips, chicks hatching, special dress-up days, National Lutheran Schools Week, and recess fun get the children reminiscing about the year. We laugh as we remember the snowman the class made, playing GaGa Ball, practicing for the track meet, and when the class clown made that funny joke. There are a few tears when we remember how we felt when we had to send the chicks away. I start to realize that in just a few hours I will be sending my “chicks” away. I start questioning everything I taught this year. “Did I do enough with multiplication and division?” “Should I have done more science experiments?” And the most important question of all is, “Did I teach and show these kids God’s love?” That is why I became a teacher. I start thinking to myself, “Did I share God’s love with these students?” “Was it enough?”
Our last day is coming to an end with a wonderful chapel. As I lead my students for the last time back to the classroom, there are already some tears rolling down their cheeks. We have a final prayer together and the children become very quiet and somber. As I tell them to line up at the door to meet their parents, tears begin to fall. Not only from several students but also from this teacher. The children start coming up to me wanting hugs as they know this is the last time we will be together in this classroom, in this grade, in this portable building. We’ve been through a lot together this year and even though we had struggles, I’m not ready to let my “chicks” go. All of a sudden, wish I had more time with “my kids”.
I hope and pray my lessons will stick with my students. I hope and pray that the life lessons stick with them. I hope and pray that most of all, they will always remember that God loves them and will always continue to walk beside them.
I tell my students at the end of each year that with everything that we cover in third grade, I hope they remember to take the love of Jesus with them and share it with everyone they meet. I pray that they remember that as they continue on their faith walk.
Farewell, my “chicks”!!