Saturday, June 21, 2008

"Life is nothing but a bunch of start-overs"
My wise Aunt Ginny

In 5 days my life will do a complete 180. School will be over, we'll move to Brooklyn, and I'll once again feel like a tourist in my own city....the only substantial time I spent in Brooklyn was when I was looking for apartments :)
Change is needed, but resisted at the same time...and with daily pleads to stay another year I find it hard to come home to boxes, bare walls, and empty cupboards.
The last week was full of happy hours that lasted well in to the night, late planning sessions at school to make sure their new teacher had EVERYTHING she needed to educate my babies....and hours of story telling with both colleagues and kids. We've experienced so much in these last 2 years...and while it was never easy, I can't imagine having done anything else after college.
It's time to start see where the next leg of the journey will take us.
Me, the Boyfriend, the 2 dogs, and the piles of boxes that have become our home.
We're different now, and tied by 12 strings to a little neighborhood school in the Bronx.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

I underestimated them, once again. I never, even in the best case scenario, thought they would be this understanding or this well behaved....or this eager to keep in touch.
I cried, they cried. I started by telling them how proud I was of them, pointed out individual growth in each student and as they clapped I cried....I could see on their faces that they knew, and by the time I uttered the words, "but I won't be teaching here next year," no one was really surprised.
The first thing they asked was if they could still call, and email. "You better," I said.
And when I told them I would take a day off to come to their graduation, they gave each other high fives and cheered.
My babies - loyal to the end.
And so began the exchange of myspace info and email and hi5 accounts and 30 minutes later I had made them fully capable of stalking me forever - just the way I want it.
By the time I got home half of them had already added me to their MSN, made novel because it was something I hadn't allowed earlier in the year.
They need to stay in touch as much as I do.....and as the end of the day came with pleads to stay one more year, I knew that they would be okay....and so would I....and that a year from now I'll be returning to watch the remainder of my kids walk across the stage....
I couldn't be more proud.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

More Snapshots

I remember the weeks before college graduation and how I would look around at people knowing it was the last time I would see them, eat with them, go to class with them, etc, and I found myself wanting to hold on to these seemingly everyday moments because the finality of everything somehow gave these routine things more importance.
I find the same thing happening with my kids. Today 5 of them were sorting papers on the rug. No fights or put downs or problems of any kind, but instead simple cooperation in a tiny spot doing what has become one of their favorite classroom tasks. I watched them, amazed at how they had grown, both physically and socially, until Chris said, "Stop, Ms. G. is waiting for us to listen."
"Actually Chris, I was just watching you guys and how great you were all working together," I said, and left, not realizing how long I had probably been standing there.
They all kind of looked at me like I had lost it, and I don't think they'll ever understand the depth of pride I have at times like silent reading when they're actually silent and reading, or during Social Studies when other classes are watching movies but my class is dying to read about the Revolutionary War.
They've come so far, and it's finally clicking that now is the time to stand back and enjoy it. Not push further or wonder what could have been, but take them for where they are, remember where they came from, and celebrate the incredible journey we've shared.
Tomorrow I'm telling my kids that I'm not coming back to my school.
Today, at happy hour, one of the other teachers warned, "They're gonna revolt."
"I'm gonna try to play it as a good thing because they're getting a great new teacher, I'll still be in touch...change will be good for them," I said, trying to convice myself as much as her.
Afterall, the closer it gets, the harder it is to come to grips with this decision that I know is right but feels so....not right....because of what will be left behind.
"They're still gonna revolt," she said.
"I'm kind of afraid of that," I replied.
All of our memories, good and bad, have come down to the fact that I, too, am leaving them. Even I can't find justification for that.

Thursday, June 12, 2008


Yet another one of our teachers graduated today with his masters degree. My kids make a huge deal out of it. I let them. They need to know that post high school education is important and something to be proud of.
"If I drop out of school, will you send me a card?" Chris asked.
"Only if it's followed by a big kick in the butt," I jokingly responded.
"That's what I thought," he said.
"Man, if I drop out of school, I'ma move and not tell Ms. G where I live," Adony added.
"You'll have to do better than that," I said. "I'll find you."
"Yeah, I'd have to change my name." he concluded.
"How about ya'll just graduate and lead fantastic lives," I said.
"Yeah, that's what I'ma do anyways," Chris said.

And the days pass more quickly than I'm ready for them to, but the end of this experience is inevitable...who'd have thought 2 years ago that these kids would become mine?
They are leaving bigger, stronger, older, smarter, wiser, changed. I see it in their conversations, in the way they interact with the world around them, and the fact that in these days when numbers are dwindling, I have nearly all of my kids in school, waiting to see what we're going to learn today.
"You're still teaching?!" a colleague said in disbelief as I worked on next week's lesson plans after school today.
"Yep," I replied.
"Oh yeah, your kids actually show up," said another.
"Yep," I replied...smiled....and got back to work.
Time to be totally and completely their teacher - 10 more days and this is all over.