Another school year is drawing to a close this week. This year I had to teach my students so many things I have yet to master. How to handle those who make them feel less than loved. Finding patience for the people who need more time to grow. Understanding that identity is not grade point averages or how they look or even what people think of them.
The hardest lesson, of course, was showing my eighth graders how to say goodbye. I confess I was not at my best for this. I couldn’t find many words to adequately communicate the things which my head understands but which my heart surely has not taken hold of yet. All I could do was fill spaces with small words: you’ve come so far. I’m so proud of you. You’ve made a difference to me. I will miss you too. Of course I won’t forget you; you’re my babies, my first-ever-students. You taught me more than I could ever teach you. I know you hate to leave, because it always hurts to leave places where we were happy. But my dears, there are beautiful things ahead for you.
Perhaps we’re all being rather melodramatic. Perhaps it’s all-too-typical middle school nonsense. But like I said, I’m still learning how to teach this part.