Often working with kids reminds me of my own childhood.
Yesterday at Keyboard Kids, the main school districts we pull students from had their last day of school. I had several (11) students absent for various 'last day of school' activities and parties. The students who did come to lessons were excited for summer to begin. I asked each one the same questions, "Is there anything you will miss about ____ grade?" and "Were you happy or sad when you said goodbye your ____ grade teacher?" and "What are you looking forward to this summer?" Most of my students said they were a little sad to say goodbye to their teacher. One girl told me she cried 'like the whole morning' because she really likes her teacher this year. Many boys were not even a little sad to be done with school. Most of my students didn't mention big family vacations they were looking forward to over the summer months but more of the 'sleeping in', hanging out freedoms summer provides.
I was total a 'cry on the last day of school' kind of girl. I seriously think I began grieving the loss of my teacher as soon as June 1st (if not May 1st) arrived until the last day of school. I don't think the lump in my throat or the nervous pit in my stomach really went away until I settled into my classroom the next September and realized I would be okay with the new teacher, too. I had the best teachers all through my public education days. They were so fabulous and I don't ever remember being 'glad' to be done with any of them. Even with my only man 6th grade teacher who was kind of interesting, Mr. Morrell, I was sad to say goodbye because I was saying goodbye to my grade school and moving onto junior high and that was very emotional! Plus, I had an acute awareness that my friendships which were so delicately formed in those awkward pre-puberty years were totally about to either go deeper or disappear with going to a junior high and combining 3 elementary schools with lots of friend and/or enemy making potential. I was blessed to actually keep and deepen SEVERAL of my elementary school friendships all the way through high school but as I stood on the brink of that big transition, I know I was grieving the loss of the ordinary-what-had-been-mostly-beautiful-learning-elementary-school-days.
I'm thankful for the memories I have of the last days of school. Our last day was usually a half day. I remember cleaning out my desk or my locker, saying goodbye to friends, walking home in the humidity of a Pennsylvania June through Country Bend with my backpack filled to the brim with the previous year's remains and treasures, showing my parents my report card that passed me onto the next grade, breathing in the warm sticky air, anticipating splashing in the pool, reading books, playing in the woods, riding my bike, camping with my family, going to the beach in NJ, and all of the many other fun summer adventures our family would have ... Summer's on Merion Drive were filled with man-hunt, salamander lightning bug, caterpillar and cicada shell finding, crab apple tree wars, building forts in the woods, me 'partying with the piano', roller blading, bike riding, 2 hand touch football, watered-down lemonade and playing with the neighbors.
For these memories of the last day of school which was the gateway to wonderful summers ... I am thankful! Happy last day of school everyone!