This has been an incredibly difficult week. I have been going through a roller coaster of emotions as we finished school, said goodbye to our retirees, and dealt with the grief of losing a beloved teacher.
I don't know if I can put into words how hard it was this week. Monday was hard-the shock of knowing he passed away, telling the kids, and watching grief erupt all over the school-I don't think I have fully processed it. But Tuesday was even harder. That morning as the kids started to come into the hallways, we all noticed that the majority of them had flannel on in honor of the teacher who passed. It was so incredibly touching. I walked into my first hour to see them all in flannel and one student in tears. I immediately choked up and had to talk out for a minute. It was only after our principal came on the PA and held a moment of silence for him that I could go back in the room.
From that point forward, the week was about coping as best as we could. I comforted students as they needed comfort, and they comforted me. In many ways, the tragedy brought students and staff together. We mourned together and the tributes throughout the week kept many of us going. Students turned to his classroom door for inspiration and hope (he posted many inspirational quotes outside his classroom door. I saw many students this week stopping to read or touch his name in memory).
Thursday was also incredibly hard. In addition to funeral services and viewings, we also had our retirement luncheon for those leaving us this year-including the teacher I have been replacing since March. There were a lot of moving tributes to both of them. Both teachers that retired this year have been in the building for many years. Seeing where they used to be, hearing the stories of what they accomplished as teachers in the building...it was incredible to see.
I also loved the student tributes to both of them. Hearing the stories of how these teachers changed their lives...it had a huge impact on me.
I've heard so many stories this week from students about teachers have changed their lives...it was inspirational...and motivational for me. Sometimes I am hard on myself about who I am and where I am in my life. I struggle to come to terms with what my dreams where and what is a reality. This week though? It has shown me that while I cannot control what life brings my way, I can control what I do about it.
I think this little blog, this piece of the internet is a testament to that. I have found a way to "teach" without a formal classroom, and no matter what happens in the future, I am grateful for this opportunity. Instead of rolling over and giving in to destructive thoughts, I decided to educate myself. I have pushed myself to continue learning so that when I am given an opportunity to teach in my own classroom, I feel more confident.
And this week, while hard and painful, has shown me all of that. Saying goodbye to my students on their exam days was about more than ending a school year. It was also about them moving on to the next stage in their lives, dealing with the sadness of the last week, and the hope that maybe I'll see them again in the future.
Yes, this has been an emotional week. And while it was sad to say goodbye on Friday, I know that I have great things ahead of me that I am ready to conquer.
Thank you again for all your well wishes this week and e-mails of support. They have helped me get through this week, as well as giving me the confidence to help my students.