They were singing those classic lyrics we've all sang before: "School's out for summer, school's out till fall ..." I watched them go with tears falling down my checks. I had given them hugs and they had hugged me back and then they walked out the door of a school building some would never come back to...my students. How I would miss some of them!
Those young men and women I have come to love, yes love, and cherish over the course of nine short months. Some of them ready to face high school, some of them having no clue as what was to come. I worried so about them heading into a high school with 1200 other students. Who will take care of them? Who will not only nurture their minds, but also nurture their hearts and souls?
Let me introduce you to a few of my students: Tom, so small in stature and so immature, I am just certain he will end up stuffed in a locker next year. And Drew, his highs and lows, so esoteric in his thinking...who will embrace this different yet wonderful, insightful young man? Sue, the hardest working girl I have ever seen: mature beyond her years, articulate, and outspoken (sometimes to a fault). But a learning disability that could get in her way...will someone help get beyond that? Martin...who watched me for 3/4 of the year before he decided I could be trusted...then I was his best friend. He never did that first homework or took that first note, but he always got A's on the tests! Sometimes I wanted to choke him...he beat us at our own game! Teachers hate that..but he and I laughed about it. Will his new teachers laugh with him or will they punish him? And these are just a few of them. They are delightful...but so needy.
Again I ask, who will take care of them? For these are the children who need the teacher that is willing to give of the heart and the soul not just the brain. The teacher who knows that content is important, but sometimes that content doesn't matter. If the heart and soul aren't sound...the opportunity for learning is closed. Will there be that teacher who is willing to spend time just talking instead of teaching? The teacher who will nurture the heart and the soul so the mind can learn?
The end of the school year is always difficult for me, for there are so many of them that take a piece of my heart with them, I worry there won't be enough left to keep me going. I spend the first part of the summer grieving the ending...the ending of yet another school year. The rest of the summer is spent rejuvenating and regenerating my own heart so I will once again be ready to give it away to another group of needy students in the fall. Because they are coming...in fact, they are coming in bigger numbers than ever before.