All across America teachers are taking down, boxing up, and cleaning out their classrooms. Another year has ended and we, educators, are saying good bye to 2018-2019 school year and hello summer break and no we do not get “paid” summers off. If you do not know each teacher has to pack up the entire classroom and move everything into the hallway, so maintenance can strip and wax the floors. This is done at the end of every school year. This task for me is generally a time of reflection. A reflection of what went right, what went wrong, mistakes made, and great memories made to last. It is a time to say farewell as the walls become emptier with each passing day.
The school year lasted 180 days at 7 hours and 30 minutes per day. That is 180 days to hopefully help open the mind of a child to the joy of learning that will continue for a lifetime. It is also 180 days at times filled with laughter, a-ha moments, groans and moans. As I reflect on the past 1,350 hours spent with 21 3rd graders I think back to mistakes I made and wish I could have a do over just as students wish they would have paid attention just a wee bit more, at times. I reflect back to maybe an occasion when I spoke a bit harsh or should have really listened instead of hurrying little Sally along because we were late for lunch, again. Maybe I forgot to list a child who made the honor roll or forgot to return a parent’s phone call or email. Maybe I should have tried one last time to reach that unreachable student who seems to push everyone’s buttons on a daily basis and the list continues on and on. You see teachers are human and we make mistakes.
My mind now shifts as I find a beautiful drawn flower with a note that says “I love you, Mrs. Dasinger, best teacher ever!” I remember the laughs we all had as I explained everyone farts, so let’s not all chime in on who did it every time we hear a fart. Oh, the laughter that comes from an 8 year old when the teacher says….FART. I remember the smile on George’s face when he made that first 100 on his reading test, but he quickly reminded me he still does not like to read. Okay, George. I giggle to myself as I remember a spunky little girl singing the theme song to Mr. Ed, The Talking Horse. I hold deeply in my chest every hug that was shared each morning for 180 days.
I have said good bye and as I moved the last desk into the hallway a sheet of paper fell to the floor. The paper contained words written to no one in particular just words from a student expressing his sorrow and feelings of abandonment because his mother has left him behind. I lock the door for the last time as a tear falls down my cheek and I hope he knows how much his teacher has loved spending the last 180 days with him. I hope all my students near and far know…..Dandelion Dreams