Each morning as the sun first peeks into my classroom window and I prepare for the day, I stand at the board and write the date with an orange marker. I began this school year with Monday, August 9, 2010, and soon I’ll write Tuesday, May 24, 2011.
And that will be it.
Just as I’ll never again write those specific dates on that board in an orange marker on those particular days, neither will I ever again greet your child as my own as he or she arrives, wet-combed hair or bed head, lunch in hand or sorrowfully left in the back seat of the car, eagerly or reluctantly facing the morning, a story to tell, something to share.
We talk of good news and bad, new pets or those who’ve left us, family trips in our future or in our past, ballgames won or lost, times of trouble and times of bliss. We spar with jokes and insults; we forgive and sometimes forget; we argue and then offer ourselves for comfort.
Living with twenty or so children seven hours a day, five days a week, ten months a year is an experience much greater than a curriculum map or an attendance sheet or test scores or discipline plan. We become a family and what happens between the four walls of our classroom is as complicated and tender as what can be found in any home. We share our laughter and tears and pain and wonderment with each other a hundred times a day. We have a common language and agreed-upon jokes; specific memories that no one else on earth will ever have.
My second-graders will move on and love their third-grade teacher in spite of what they promise me now. They will never remember me as I remember them - they with their gappy teeth and shorts in winter and fake tattoos and fledgling understandings of who they are and what they’ll become.
Time is such a trickster. It hides itself in routine, in menial jobs to be done, in minor irritations that keep us from realizing we’re in the midst of something amazing. We become mired in the details and often lose track of the gift. I wish I could tie up this year in a ribbon and give it to myself when I need a lift, or to be reminded of what’s important; when I need a good laugh or an even better cry.
I’ll want to remember and to tuck it all away because this year has been as no other year. No other class was like this class and no other children were like these children. We were Mayo’s class and it will never be the same.
Many thanks to Nance at Mature Landscaping for this award