Thursday, June 4, 2009

good-bye, Mrs. O'Connor...

Today was my last day of school with my kiddos at my current school. Ever. Wow.

I accepted a position teaching fourth grade at another school next year. After agonizing about the best way to handle the situation (tell or not tell? how to tell, when to tell, who to tell, what to tell...), I told my kids yesterday that another school needs my help so I will be teaching there next year (shout out to Mama for the phrasing). I told them right before art, which, looking back, was maybe a little selfish, but I honestly didn't think it would be that huge of a deal since they will all have different (3rd grade) teachers next year anyway, obviously, and I thought art would be a good distraction. I mean really, everyone loves art.

I was wrong, as it turns out. The art teacher had to get the counselor to come calm the ten crying children in art class. Toward the end of my planning period, during which I had been blissfully unaware that the crying had continued for a full 30 minutes, the counselor came by with one of my sobbing kiddos and said, "Ten down and one left. We just thought we'd come by to give you a hug." The sobber continued crying for about another 30 minutes after returning to class.

We finally were able to move forward after a bit, but today was a little harder for me personally/emotionally than yesterday. We had a community circle, which is basically where we sit in a circle and take turns sharing on a given topic. I had the kids tell their favorite thing about this school year and got: "My favorite thing was having Mrs. O'Connor," "My favorite thing was the first day of school when I met Mrs. O'Connor," etc. Even though I was touched by their sweet words, I thought it would be good to lighten the mood before sending them all home. I had them go around the circle again to tell about their plans for the summer. It didn't help much; responses included, "I'm going swimming and to the beach and I wish Mrs. O'Connor could come but she can't," and, with eyes down-cast, "Well, this summer, I'm mostly going to think about Mrs. O'Connor and Vanessa [friend who is moving to anther school... don't worry, I changed the name] and I'll be missing them."

As the kids were leaving, the child who is planning to spend her summer missing me said tearfully, "Please don't let them [the other school] pick you!"

I've always felt that I rarely cry at the moments in life when you are supposed to cry but that I always end up crying at odd little things that tug at my heart. Today, that moment was when I looked at the little chalkboard sign that our PTA made with my name on it, hanging outside my classroom door. Through all my packing, I hadn't been able to bring myself to take it down. I finally took it off the wall and put it away in a box. After leaving my room briefly, I came back toward my classroom and just stood for a moment, looking at the blank wall space by the door where the sign had been, and all I could think was, "This isn't Mrs. O'Connor's room anymore." In spite of al the goodbyes, parties, awards, and conversations I've had with kids and staff alike during the last couple weeks, that little chalkboard somehow brought it all home--I don't belong here anymore.

I don't want it to sound like something terrible has happened; I'm really excited about the change for next year and did indeed make the decision to leave of my own free will. I made the decision prayerfully and feel good about it and still don't have any regrets, but those kids sure can tug at your heartstrings! I feel confident that God's plan was for me to be at this school for these three years and that I learned a lot and was there for a purpose. I can say with equal confidence that I believe God has shown me that it's time for a change and that He, as always, was faithful to direct my steps in bringing me to my new school. I'm excited to continue this journey with Him. It's such a comfort to know that wherever He takes me, He will be with me every step of the way. He is so good to His children!

5 comments:

Kristin said...

I just love your posts! And I want SO much for you to teach my sweet little girl! This most recent post made me think of Ms. S (do you remember her?)... and how I was always one of those kids that would start sobbing and couldn't stop... and how she was soooo unhelpful... I could've used you back then too! :) I MISS YOU!!! <3 Good luck with the new job next year!

Lindsay O. said...

Thanks for the sweet words and sorry I'm so late in responding! I do remember Ms. S. and wasn't especially fond of her, either. It would be so fun to have your little darling in class! Miss you too and thanks again for the kind note!

Misfit said...

Oh, Lindsay Lee, how blessed those children were to have you for a year. Their tears were a testament to that.

thefosterfam5 said...

Love this posting. Will miss you at the door next year :( BUT we know that He has a bigger and better plan for you.

PS-I saw the line of sobbers leaving art and enter the office...I am sure Deanna was so happy about 2nd grade specials that day ;)

Lindsay O. said...

hehe yeah I'm sure she was so happy with me that day. Thanks for your kindness... will miss you all!