Today was my last day with my class. It was an emotional one in a way I didn’t expect. Every year, especially since I’ve taught grade 5 for the past three years, there are always a few tears. Moving on to middle school is a challenging thing. But this year takes the cake for tears.
We had a great morning together. We did an author’s celebration first thing, had some veggies and fruit, watched some of a movie we had started on Wednesday, then went out early for recess when the SMART Board over-heated. After recess I got them started on an art project involving making a puzzle of their years of elementary and left them in Mrs. W’s capable hands while I went off to my new school to meet my new class. More on that later.
After I came back we had some cake that one of the parents brought in and it was time for lunch. Through all this, there was some of the usual boisterousness of the class, and there were times when I felt the frustration of wanting this one day to be perfect and me not have to raise my voice. We watched their photostory that I made for them and laughed at funny pictures then, when the smart board over-heated again, I asked them what game they would like to play. Surprisingly, they wanted to play musical chairs, so fine, we played musical chairs. There were some bumps and “that’s not fair” and “he sat on me” but we got through the game and it was off to the gym for a school wide viewing of the year in review photostory. This is where things went off.
Like I said, I usually have a few that cry. I’m usually one of the people who cries. But this was unbelievable. Almost all of my girls and some of my boys were in tears. Most of the girls were sobbing loudly. I was blessed with some very lovely kind girls this year. I had not expected them to be so overwhelmed with emotions today. Maybe it was because it was so hot. Maybe it was because it was a full day instead of the usual half day. Whatever it was, they cried through the photostory, they cried back in the classroom. I put on the movie again, things calmed down a little, then another student was picked up early. I tried taking them out to play soccer baseball, the gym teacher had this giant pink inflated ball out in the field, they just wanted to sit in the shade and cry. I cried a few times too. I find it very hard not to cry especially when people I care about are crying. So we cried and talked about their fears and about how awesome middle school is going to be and how much they’re going to enjoy it. Then we scrambled to tidy the classroom a bit (a very little bit) and I handed out their report cards and sent them on their way.
This has been a very challenging year for me, easily my most difficult so far. I had some amazing students in my class and some more difficult. On top of that we started out with a new principal, who was wonderful, but new so that took some adjustment. She retired mid-year so there was another new principal, plus other staff changes all at once, preparations for the new school and all the changes and uncertainty that came with that, and to top it all off, the districts merging together which is causing so much change and upheaval. I’m so glad to be able to look forward to a little bit of rest and relaxation this summer, but I will miss this class, as challenging as they were.
I also have a new class and a new school to look forward to. I was lucky enough to be able to go up to my new school this morning for a “moving up” event that they have where all the students get to spend half an hour in their new class with their new teacher. Now I don’t have a classroom yet; my classroom is currently part of the library. They’re going to build a wall and put up boards and such this summer. The other grade 5 teacher and I had all the grade 4s come into his classroom and together we talked a bit about the intensive French program and about ourselves and had a chance to meet our new kids. Amazingly enough, I recognized two of the kids, one who was in a grade 2 class where I taught for two weeks and one from my first year of supply teaching from a Kindergarten class where I used to volunteer! Fredericton is a small town!