One of my students has a social/emotional behavior goal that focuses on salutations and valedictions — responding to hellos and goodbyes in an age-appropriate manner. Consequently, we make it a big deal in the classroom for everyone to remember to say hello or goodbye when they enter or leave a room respectively. The funny thing is the one day I really could not bring myself to practice what I preach as my students were walking out the door was on the very last day of school.
The room was already pretty much boxed up thanks to the help of my students, IEP progress reports were sealed in manila envelopes in each of their backpacks, and I was holding on to the small possibility that summer homework would be returned come August though I’m guessing the chances of that are slim. Everything was all set and done.
Their report cards indicated that each of them had been promoted to the next grade; all of them had successfully transitioned into their placements for next year; and somehow amazingly, I had survived my first year of teaching with only a few cuts and bruises; and yet, I could not say goodbye.
Maybe it’s because out of the seven students I ended the year with just last week, only two will be returning to my room at all and even they won’t be in the room all that much. Three of the older boys have moved on and will be home-roomed in the older self-contained classroom next year with significant time in gen. ed. and resource; the class princess, as we affectionately called the only girl in the class, is being moved to another self-contained room at a different school in the district; the one student who just joined our class at the end of April is moving to another district; and the two that are staying with me will be spending the majority of the day in the gen. ed. room, too.
So if you really think about it, I’m getting a completely new class next year and how often does a self-contained teacher say that? And that’s probably the reason behind my inability to say goodbye because I loved my students this year and all the incredible progress they made. What kind of person would want a good thing to come to a close? Not me, that’s for sure.
Besides, Peter Pan always said, “Never say goodbye because goodbye means going away and going away means forgetting.” And I most certainly refuse to forget this year.
How about you? Has your school year already come to a close, too, or are you still chugging along like some of the other Reality 101 bloggers? Does saying goodbye get easier with each year in the classroom or is it always this painful? And if it is, how do you cope?