I wasn't sure how or when I was going to tell my kids that I wasn't coming back next year, but about twenty minutes to home time I saw that the newsletter that was going home had a list of the teachers who were leaving the school front and centre. I didn't want the kidlets to find out from the newsletter, so I sat them down just before they ate their lunch...
"So boys and girls, I have something to talk to you about, and it's kinda sad... Sometimes teachers have to leave their schools and go to new schools... and that's what I have to do in September. I won't be coming back to OurSchool next year. I'll be going to NewSchool to teach a brand new class of grade ones and twos."
A collective gasp went up as I told them, and it was all I could do to keep the tears in as the barraged me with questions...
- But why?
- Don't go!
- Will you come visit us?
- But why do you have to go? [good question!]
"Well, this year there are 29 classes at our school, so there are 29 teachers. Next year there are only going to be 28 classes, so one teacher needs to move to a new school. It's sad that I'm leaving, but also happy because I get to meet all kinds of new teacher friends and new wonderful students just like you! I'll do my best to come back and visit."
- But why you?
- Did you want to leave us? [OH, my breaking heart!]
"Oh, no! No, no no! I would love to stay here and get to visit you in your new classes next year and say hello in the hallways! I'm going to miss you very much! It's just that sometimes teachers don't have a choice..."
- Well then who chooses?
"Oh, nobody really chooses. There's just a list of teachers..." How do you explain seniority rules and aggravating school board decisions to seven year olds??? You just don't.
There were all kinds of hands still up, but they needed to eat so they'd be ready to go by the bell, so I told them that they could ask me more questions while they ate. Little did I expect to be barraged by hugs as they went to their tables!
But it was the quiet comments, the kids who came up to me and told me in hushed voices and in their own little ways that they would miss me that made me nearly lose it.
- Miss Hillary, I'm going to make you a card all about you and me and OurSchool and my three friends in our class... but I'm gonna be sad when I give it to you.
- Miss Hillary, I'm sad. I might cry on the last day of school.
- Hey! I have an idea for a field trip! You should tell the new teacher to take us on a field trip to your new school!
- Should I get you a present for the last day of school?
- Will you come back to visit us? I don't think I'll like it very much if you're not here!
- I'm going to miss you, Miss Hillary! You're the best teacher I ever had in my whole entire life! [said a grade one student, who's had exactly one teacher before me! :P ]
Aaaaand my eyes welled up over and over and over this afternoon. Next week is gonna be killer...