This year has been super great, from Day 1 to Day 176 (or whatever the number is in Missouri….). And just like any normal year, I got sad when I started thinking about passing my class on to middle school and not seeing them again. But then, there was an added sense of “finalness” (yep, I just made up a new word) because they would be my LAST 5th grade class. Maybe not forever, but at least for a while.
Along with my last day of 5th grade also came my son’s last day of 1st grade AND my baby girl’s last day at her babysitter–the babysitter she’s been with since I first left her at 10 wks old. She’s going to preschool, Riley’s moving to 2nd grade and I’m moving to 1st. And while these are all welcomed changes that we knew were coming, still there’s a feeling of loss that comes before the new arrives and we celebrate it, you know?
And so packing up my room, which is something I have done at least 13 other times since I started teaching, took on a different meaning than it usually does. Instead of just packing up all my stuff to use again in a different way with different kids, I ended up packing up and then giving away most of that stuff to someone else. Some of it was no big deal (I mean come on, every grade has math manipulatives and whiteboards and board games), but surprisingly, the thing in my room that had the biggest impact on me was my classroom library. Something about that felt different in a more definite way. Final. Over. Caput. Done. Moving on.
Out of no where came tears. I guess there was something about seeing all of my “friends” being packed up to be sent away to someone else (even if that person is my loving husband who is in his own right a FABULOUS 5th grade teacher and will for sure take good care of them), and seeing the remnants of my once-amazing library strewn all over the floor that was just too much for me. It was just too much.
But the part that was the hardest was this image in my nearby trashcan:
It’s so sad, right? Somehow this represented so many things to me: hours of time spent organizing and labeling my library to keep it in order for so many readers to use each year; hundreds and hundreds of books read over the years both by me and my 4th-5th grade readers; books that I would no longer be reading to my students, since they’ll be so much younger–that means old friends I don’t get to spend time with anymore.
Ok, I know. Really it’s just books. It’s just words on a page packed in cardboard boxes. And someone else will take their turn reading them now. And yeah, I’ll have new books to be able to enjoy and share with my new first grade friends, and perhaps some of those will become my new favorites. But still, this chapter of my life is (for now) over. Finito. Done. Bye-bye. Sayonara.
And so….so long Ralph, Jerry and Sharon (don’t tell anyone you’re my favorites 🙂 ). I’ll see you later Joan, Beverly and Ann. Will, Peg, Judy and Margaret, don’t forget me. We’ll meet again at some time and place in our future lives. Who knows, maybe I’ll be a published author then, too. 🙂