Today was the last day of school. It is always a bittersweet day. I see the growth that my students have shown throughout the year and I know that they are ready to move on. During a school year, my students and I spend 180 days together, (give or take a few absences). Nearly 7 hours of their day are spent at school. For some children, that is more time than they even spend with their own families.
I had such a loving class this year. I joked that if all 22 of them could get married to each other, they would happily do so because they just loved spending their days with each other. They were such a kind class and they really cared about one another. At the end of the day today, I had seven of them in tears because they did not want to leave Kindergarten!! They would not let go of me and the hugs were powerful enough to nearly knock me down. One of my favorite sayings of the day was, “Mrs. Sinclair, these are not tears in my eyes, for some reason, they are just filled with water!”
It is truly amazing how attached you can become to your students and their families. I am not sure if this is a “Kindergarten thing”, or something else. For some parents, it is their child’s first experience at ”real” school. After such a tragic year with the shootings at Sandy Hook Elementary School, and the devastating tornadoes in Oklahoma, I think that parents realize what extreme measures teachers will take to ensure the safety of their students while they are in our care.
I received a handmade book from my class today. In it, were all of the students’ favorite things that they learned in Kindergarten. I was so happy to see that it was not just, “math, reading or writing”, but messages like, “remember to be kind”, “respect others”, “fun is good but carried away is bad”…all lessons that I have tried to instill all year. I tell them all of the time that if they feel happiness in their hearts, then they are doing the right thing. I hope that is one of the greatest lessons they take with them from Kindergarten.
It makes me so happy when I see this or when I receive a note or picture from a student or their parent. I know that somehow I made a difference and there really is no better gift than that.
I am sure that a lot of today’s tears, (both students and their parents), were due to apprehension about next year and the unknown. It is difficult for children to explain those worries. They cried that they would miss me and I reminded them all that we live in the same town. I am sure that I will see them at the town pool, and around town. That seemed to end some of the tears. Yet, just as it seems to come to an abrupt end for the students, it does so for a teacher as well. I will miss them and wish them all as much happiness in first grade as they had in Kindergarten.