When I got to school this morning I found crepe paper streamers spider webbed across my door, a gift bag on the floor in front of it and congratulatory balloons bouncing in the air above the door knob. Reaching through the tangle of green streamers I unlocked the door and pushed it inward only to see more balloons floating across the floor of my classroom. What a wonderful way for my colleagues to wish me a happy retirement!
This was my last day as a seventh grade teacher. Wow! Now that I actually write it down the reality of it is beginning to sink in. No tears yet. All day long, each period I celebrated with games and junk food in every one of my classes. The kids had been given an unusual homework assignment to bring a drink of their choosing to class; an unusual departure from my insistence on plain water and healthy snacks only. Many of the kids baked cupcakes, cookies and brownies or brought chips. And we formed teams and played our version of a clue drawing game on the board. Loud and rowdy, exhausting and fun.
I received so many cards and handwritten notes from current and former students that I haven't had the time to sit down and read them all yet. I am sure that when I do the tears will flow freely because I have had so many wonderful students in the past several years and we have created so many wonderful memories together that I will carry with me into this new phase of my life.
Kids from current and past classes stopped by all day long to say good bye. It was especially great to see the young adults who have moved on to the high school and to know that they remember their experiences in my classroom and want to stop by to wish me well. I want them all to know that I have learned as much from teaching them as they have from being in my class. I love 'em all.