I had a party in my Minions class, partly because we were covering the party unit, but mostly as a chance to say goodbye. Nate and I had been getting a collection of gifts throughout the week from our students. The school had informed them that we were going back to Canada to get married, and the support and love from our students and their families had already been overwhelming. If the gifts had been trickling in throughout the week, today they poured through the door.
The parents came into class early for pin the tail on the donkey. It’s a ton of fun watching the children drag their reserved parents into the games. The children had to blind fold their parents, spin them around, and send them on their way. Usually the blind folded parent was the one laughing the loudest.
At the end of class I was talking to Pat’s mom. I noticed an odd gathering of children behind me all twitching, or spinning. They were waiting to give me hugs! Each hug was wonderful, but I felt like I gave away part of myself to each child with every goodbye. And then suddenly our noisy, festive, classroom was empty. I stood frozen for a moment. Out of habit, I turned to clean up my things.
I met Kate’s eyes. She was standing in the doorway staring at me. She took a breath, “I feel so weird, I don’t think about these things until they happen.”
I smiled, and then turned away, back to my bin and collection of toys, “Neither do I.”
That brought us to lunch time.
After lunch I had an activity class. It was chaos as usual. My CT was grouchy, and we flew through the lesson material in the first hour, left with an hour to make up things to do. The biggest issue was that there were only three students in the class, which meant we went through our lesson plan a lot faster then would be ideal. Either way it was a welcome relief from the goodbyes.
My day ended with Starfruit class, which involved another goodbye party. Once again I was overwhelmed with hugs. I received a lot of “I love you”s and “Miss you teacher”s. I was close to melting into a puddle of tears. Somehow I still had more of myself to leave behind for each of the children I had grown to love.
Nate went out with his buddy that night, leaving me to head home along. I opened the door to our apartment, but the pictures had already been taken down, and our remaining possessions were piled in the living room. The whole place echoed as the door closed behind me.