“How lucky I am to have something that makes saying goodbye so hard.”
– Winnie the Pooh
I survived my last day in the classroom on Friday, but today was the last day with my colleagues. A teacher workday to finalize next year’s class lists, to check in electronics and keys and everything else, was really just – for me – a day to say goodbye.
I don’t like goodbyes. I get nervous and can’t find my words and want to cry. I avoid them if I can. I just leave and if I see anyone on the way out that I wasn’t sleuth enough to avoid, I just wave and say ‘See you later!’ Never goodbye.
Today I tried that, but I wasn’t entirely successful. We were all called to the cafe at lunchtime. We ate together and laughed. And then the presentations started. Several staff were retiring and so they were honoured first. And then it moved onto the people who were ‘transitioning’. I fell into that ‘transitioning’ category. The longest serving staff members were embarrassed first, and then last of all was my turn. The principal spoke for me and I almost – almost, I am a Yorkshire lass after all so very rarely do tears actually fall! – cried. His words were kind and heartfelt and I appreciated them than I will ever tell anyone.
One of the greatest blessings here has been the people I have met and worked with. We have spent so many hours together in the classroom and outside of it. My grade team has become my family. They will be forever now, I’m sure of it. But all the staff at my wonderful school have been incredible, every single one of them. I arrived a confused and slightly bewildered international teacher and I’m sure that during the ten months here I have done wrong things and things too slowly and things too quickly. I have forgotten to do things, been unaware of others and added in extra things that probably no-one understood. I know it has not been an easy adventure for me, but I know it has also been a challenge for them. But boy did they all rise to it!
Your workplace, if it is run right, becomes comfortable, familiar: it becomes home. My school here has been that. I have found friends and family, made memories I will cherish forever, and learned a whole heap along the way. And all because of the people, the people who call themselves teachers. They are good friends, great teachers, amazing people. I hope that I have made them smile as much as they have made me smile; I hope that I have supported them as much as they have supported me; and I hope they feel happy to have had me, as much as I have been happy to have been here.
So while I snuck out today without talking to all of them, there is still one thing I would like to say to them. They probably won’t ever read this, but I’ll say it anyway.
Thank you. I will miss you.