May 9, 2016

To My Kinder Darlings

Dear Kinder Darlings,

Eight days. That's all that is left of our time together. How will eight days ever be enough to hug you and laugh with you and assure you that you are the best and the smartest in the world? Don't get me wrong, I am counting down the days until sleeping in, cartoons with my kids at home, and ice cream and swimming with just as much anticipation and jubilation as you. Except, there is also this lump in my throat. There is a little twinge of pain in my full, full heart. You see, this year, you were mine. I loved you and cared for you and laughed with you and sometimes wanted to pull my hair out. Just like my own children. And now, it is almost over. Now you belong to your parents and next year., another teacher. The next thing you know, you will be graduating from high school and I will be but a distant memory. But, YOU, dear students, you will always have a home in my heart.

This time of year is bittersweet. I can almost taste the freedom and adventures of summer. I am also filled with pride because you have come so far. You have learned to tie your shoes, to say "excuse me" instead of pushing, to read CVC words, and to start sentences with an uppercase letter. You mastered your rainbow words! You counted to 100! You learned to work independently and be a good friend and resolve conflict. Yet, I am scared to let you go. Did I do enough? Did I work enough with you on adding detail to your writing? Did I make you feel important and smart every day? Did you really understand how to solve those math story problems? Do you know how much I love you? Eight days is not enough to be sure.

At the same time, eight days will feel like an eternity. Because you, for some mysterious reason, have suddenly forgotten that hallways are meant to be quiet and that it not okay to scream your head off indoors. For the love of all that is good and holy, WHY must I repeat myself a thousand times a day about little tiny things we have been doing for 158 days of school? I feel like I have used the words "stop" and "don't" more in the past month than I did all school year. "Stop spinning in line. Please sit on your bottom. Are we being good listeners? Is this how Kindergarteners act in the library? Don't glue your crayons together. Stop poking your neighbor. Scissors are only for cutting paper!" But I think I know the reason for all of this.

You see, I think that God knows that goodbye for the summer has the potential to rip my heart out. I think maybe He causes you to act like wild animals so that it distracts me from the fact that you aren't going to be mine anymore. Kindergarten is over. Next year you will see me in the hall and you will wave and smile, and maybe, if I'm lucky, give me a hug. You will have a new teacher to love, and I will have a whole new set of Kinder babies. Next year at this time, I will be writing their letter and crying tears over their departure. Right now, though, my tears are for you. I want you to know that you are kind and you are brave. That you are outstanding readers and mathematicians and scientists, and beings.  I want you to know that you will always always be my Kinder darlings, forever five and six in my heart. Now, go on. Grow up. Be great.

Your Kinder Teacher

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