So…what the general public doesn’t understand is how hard the end of the year can be for teachers. We spend months and hours with these wonderful children, trying to help them learn all the important things we have to teach them and then…we say goodbye, probably forever.
This past year was one of the best in my 28 years of teaching. During the course of a school day I taught writing to a group of approximately 70 5th graders. That’s what I call heaven…
In my teaching career I’ve had two groups of students who stand out – (teachers know them as ‘the golden group’ – a set of children who come through (rarely) that are kind, hard-working, smart, and just generally fun to be around). Don’t get me wrong, most kids are like that every year but once in a great while, the whole group just gels together and becomes greater then the sum of it’s parts.
My first golden group was The Moose Club. They were my first group as a general education teacher and I had them for two years, looping with them from 4th to 5th. They were the group that cemented my belief in the power of writing – the power to heal, to bond, to believe in oneself. They graduated from high school on June 6th. (They were all very tall and it freaked me out.) I still have many of their writing pieces.
They are with me still, every day, in so many ways. Dale’s poem about ‘Freedom’ after viewing the pictures from Remember: The Journey to School Integration by Toni Morrison, Darryl’s rap about the move of the colonial capitol from Jamestown to Williamsburg, Samuel’s letter apologizing to his classmates for missing school and letting down his team, all of these inform my teaching to this day. So today I am allowing myself to look back, to see where the journey has taken me and to be grateful, so very grateful, to all the students I have loved over the years.