Well, here it is. The end of student teaching. The end of the hardest 7 months of my life. I've failed, succeeded, lost relationships, made new ones (hell, strengthened old ones), and through it all I have held my head high and forged ahead to this point.
This week, I am saying goodbye to the 150 young people who have taught me how to be a teacher. 150 young people who somehow managed to get me to open my heart up to myself again. 150 young people who showed me what respect really is, and what culture really is. 150 young people that I will never be able to forget.
I am saying goodbye to two fabulous people that I have lived with for almost 3 years now (I'm only saying goodbye as roommates, but it's still sad!). I am saying goodbye to the staff at this school, who have taught me more than I thought I could ever learn about teaching for social justice, teaching for learning, teaching for kids. I am saying goodbye to my teaching cohort, who went through this hurricane with me, and will likely never all be in the same room again. And, of course, I am saying goodbye to my comfort, as I break out on a month long solo-ish adventure to Central America.
All of these changes are resonating with me deeply right now. As I move towards Monday, I move towards a day when everything is going to change for me, permanently. When I come back from this trip, I will not be the same - that's the point.
As I read the notes that students have written me, I am realizing how many kids I really did reach. I always said that for me, teaching was about making an impact - at least one. If I made an impact in even one kid's life, I would be happy. Today, I'm realizing that I can set my goals a little higher than that. I have made a difference in so many kids' lives, and even if the only thing they remember is that they like science - mission accomplished, that's an impact.
There are lots of things that I want to write here. But I think I'll leave all 3 of the people who will read this a rather extensive sample of quotes from my students, regarding me leaving...
"I only came to class because of you."
"OMG! I'm gonna miss you soooo much!"
"Damn class feels super weird without you and boring!"
"If the chicken don't fly on Saturday, then it's probably gonna fly on Sunday."
"Remember the chicken taste its best fried."
"When you are here, I had a lot of time funny! I don't know how to say with you, but I'm so sad when you leave...I wish you have happy time in the new place. And we always welcome you back in this school. Miss you!!"
"Your a pretty KOOL chick and I hope you seriously find some doode whos lucky enough to have you and totally make some cute babies [LOL] haha sorry talk about random."
"I am gonna miss you because you are one of that best teacher that I had in my life. I want to thank you because you always help me when I have questions."
"Your style of teaching is very helpful to me."
"You are a great teacher because you really cares about us and you don't want anybody to get hurt during the lab."
"I loved learning from you and your cool ways."
"We all created a bond with you as a class."
"God bless you!"
"You have been a great teacher to me and I'm sad that your leaving but I know thats how life goes people that you love or you like come and go. I think that you have made me a better student."
"Being a TA for you guys was fun. Even though you guys didn't have much for me to do."
"It's a very good thing for me to know you, and you be my teacher...So now I know that you will lelf use soon, and I think it's really bad between us. But I hope that you have a lot of fun when you gonna travel and take care of yourself, be back soon."
"To be honest, I really disliked you in the beginning of the year but at the same time that was cause I didnt know u...but you did what other student teachers couldn't do, that was steping up, we put you threw alot of crap but hey were lovable...Your mean for leaving us by the way"
"Don't forget me!"
"Don't get arrested stealing Mexican sand for me!"
"Have fun without us...but not too much."
"You have been wonderful and you have been there for me when I needed you...I love the way you teach!"
"Come visit, and maybe I'll come visit you too!"
"Come see us play next year we going to state come support the football team first game in september"
"Smile, pat yourself on the back, be happy, cause your officially cut out to do this stuff, yeah teaching. There are very few adults or teachers that are accepted by these students including myself. It's typical for kids to disrespect and often act in bad manners towards someone that is not the real teacher and has not been around long enough to demand kids but that someone isn't you. Somehow you have really connected w/the students and they don't want you gone. That's a big deal and a huge success"
"I know how kids can be but you've proven that they can all be more than they sometimes make themselves out to be. I thank you for teaching the greatest and most rare skill to these students, which is how to be GREATFUL..they give more effort, want to try harder, and actually care for education due to your guidance. I speak of only some but I have witnessed this myself. It's a good change to see in my classmates and friends."
"Once again, grin, smile, or something cause you have accomplished something many people don't. You have gain, earned, and deserve the respect of young youth b/c you gave it first and returned it when it was ever given - RESPECT."
"Thank you for being here. Thank you for stamping my entry task. Thank you for having a last name that reminds me of my favorite show Seinfeld. LOL :)"