I always get nostalgic at the end of the school year. For my own babies, it marks the passing of time and growth, which to a parent is bittersweet. I’m so proud of how my kids have grown and changed over the past year in school. Bean has tested boundaries and pushed himself when his best wasn’t good enough, and he’s learned throughout those processes that growing up is sometimes about more than just having a later bedtime. He’s learned to work hard for things he really wants and he’s learned that his mom and dad expect nothing but his best effort – whatever that might look like.
Gracie has blossomed in kindergarten. Her sweet and spicy sides have blended together over the past year, sometimes battling it out with each other. But as a result, she has learned to listen to others and is learning how best to make her own voice heard (and, miraculously, that doesn’t involve being LOUDER…). Her love of reading, writing, and arts and crafts has taken off, and hearing her teach what she knows to her dolls while she plays school in her bedroom makes this teacher mommy’s heart sing.
But for a teacher, the end of the school year marks even more growth, as we see our students moving ahead to high school. My 8th graders this year have been such a fun bunch, never missing a chance to prank me or laugh at my horrible puns and jokes. We worked really hard and I saw some great progress in them, and there are certainly some memorable students who I will remember for years to come. Like the student who started the year failing all his classes and constantly dealing with discipline issues, and then with lots of time and even more laughter and encouragement, I have seen him blossom into a smart student making A’s and B’s and rising to become a true leader among his peers. Those kinds of stories make my heart swell with hope for their futures, but my eyes swell with tears at the change coming.
Next year will bring even more changes to me and my family. On Friday I accepted a position teaching at the middle school in my own neighborhood, where my own kids will go to school in a few years. I really hadn’t intended to look for a different job. I love the people where I teach and the idea of leaving my teacher friends behind has kept me there for the last few years. But when I saw a position teaching the exact same grade level and curriculum as I teach now become available, I decided to go for it. I’m giving up a 30 minute commute for a 3 minute bike ride to work, which will do such wonderful things for my family. I’ll be able to take the kids to school, pick them up earlier, and even make it to quick things during their school day, if I need. I can’t even imagine all the ways that being close to them is going to be such a difference!
While change is never easy, I have always tended to make it even LESS easy that other people. Anxiety often makes changes – even good ones – seem larger and scarier than they are. But I have to give myself a pat on the back because this particular change hasn’t stressed me out or made me nervous at all. I am actually really excited. I’ve made wonderful friends where I am and taught some fantastic kids. I’ve learned how to be a teacher and I’ve grown from mistakes I’ve made along the way. I am leaving my school with experience, confidence, and lots of happy, happy memories to look back on. I’m counting my blessings.
I’ll spend the summer prepping for my new school. I have a few trainings I have to complete for them and some loose ends to tie up, but until those beginnings, I’m going to be basking in the glow of this happy ending, riding off into the sunset with my Eagle friends flying right there beside me.