You know, some years you are literally pushing that last child out the door and other years you are holding on, hoping they won't leave.
I'm having a "can't cut the science lab apron strings" year. I really bonded with my 5th graders. Some of them I had taught since 2nd grade, all the others I have taught since 3rd. They knew me and I knew them and we learned alot this year. I was a bigger crybaby during the promotion exercises today than most of the parents. Of course, my little girls and even some of my boys were boo-hooing as well.
Remember the little girl that wrote me a note that said "RIP - you are a witch" - (but as threatening as it looked, she was just celebrating her favorite holiday - Halloween)? She's off to middle school along with the kid who would never sit still during 2nd grade - he kept playing the drums all day. He moved schools and we were so glad and then he returned this year to the chagrin of many of us. He announced to me..."Remember me, Ms. Ottosen? You're the teacher that made me love science". And then of course, the boy in bilingual classes who would never do anything in English - wouldn't even try. The last week of 4th grade I got him to write a short paragraph in English in his journal and this year he passed the state exam in English! The little girl who came in the middle of 3rd grade and didn't know a word of English and was so determined to learn. She would never give up and practiced and practiced and made all her teachers teach her as much as possible - passed all 3 state exams in English and received the Principal's Award for her undying enthusiasm and motivation for succeeding. A handful of our bilingual ed students passed the science TAKS exam in English, which is a much harder test than the reading TAKS, which they failed. What is the logic in that? If they were all going on to the same middle school, I might change jobs.
I'm going to miss my friends. I hope they all invite me to their high school and college graduations.
Of course, summer science camp begins next week and I have a whole new group to make friends with.