Good bye little Kylie. You greeted me each morning with a hug, a scream, and a kick to the shin. See you "next year", sweetie.
Drake, you'll be in a mainstream classroom more of the day next year, so we won’t be so tied at the hip. I’ll miss you, but celebrate your newly found independence. It's bitter sweet.
Jacky, be good to your mom this summer. She does so much for you, and gets so little in return.
“LEAVE ME ALONE!” That’s your mantra, Peter, shouted daily at the top of your lungs. I welcome the quiet of summer break. Well, until my own 17 year old starts in on me.
I’ll say a little prayer each morning for your safety, Rigsby. Thank goodnes your daycare teachers will take over the daily watch for bruises and marks.
And Carl and Bobby, you'll get together over the summer to play Pokemon paper dolls and Gameboy games in the comfort of your upper middle class family rooms… until your moms can’t take the manic laughter and sporadic shouting matches. (It’s a love-hate thing!)
See you in the fall, Stephen. Enjoy your free time at daycare. Make a grownup read you a book everyday. Try not to hit your little sister. Stay clear of your dad when he’s mad.
Finally, I close my classroom door with the familiar lump in my throat. I am used to this weird feeling of relief and expectation. Still, closing the book on this group of kids, this set of challenges and worries, this chance to make a difference, feels right. Before long I’ll be planning new and wonderful activities for next year.
For now, I count my blessings.
I am so lucky to be a teacher.