Friday, May 10, 2013

Make it Count

Four thousand, eight hundred minutes. Or eighty hours. Or eleven and a half days. That is all I have left with my students. To say I am a bit heartsick over this would be an understatement. At Open House on Wednesday night parent after parent asked me if I was counting the days yet. I truthfully said I wasn’t. Unfortunately, I did tonight.

When you go into education, you often hear comments about summer break. How it must be nice to get so much time off. While I do work a good portion of break, I still love summer. I will also admit to the occasional year where my eyes have turned toward the end of the school year, mentally counting and wondering how much longer

What they don’t prepare you for in school are the years that you dread that last day. The years that you’d do anything to keep on going. The times that you just need a few more days, weeks, months. Those years that you wonder if you could just continue to teach these kids until they leave for college. That’s been my year.

By no means has it been a perfect year. As a matter of fact, I had my students put their heads down for a minute today. They were so darn happy, so excited to talk to each other, that I couldn’t get the directions out before we needed to have our fire drill. So we took a breath, regrouped, moved on. Even with that, I love them.

I’ve stayed up at night lately, worrying about some. Talked and reasoned with a few until I feel like I’m talking in circles. Prayed, laughed, cried.  I’ve walked out of the room to breathe, frustrated that I can’t break through. I’ve walked into the room and had my heart soar as I watch them function independently. I’ve coached, encouraged, cheered, taught – and have been taught in return.

Yes, it is that time of lasts. Last times. Last moments. And my heart is breaking. The benefit of a small town is that I will see them again. They will deliver my pizza, babysit my children, tour my class at the Ag Show (thanks, Megan!), and more. But it isn’t the same. It isn’t the same as spending a year together, confined between four walls, entering as strangers – leaving as family.

Four thousand, eight hundred minutes. Or eighty hours. Or eleven and a half days. In just a short while I will stand at the door, tears streaming down my face as I say good-bye. I dread it, but it is as it should be. They will grow up, move on, and become the people they should. So little time left, I need to make it count.