Saturday, May 21, 2011

Time

A message to the parents of my students this year:

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

17 comments:

Phil said...

I hope each of your students will copy this and read it twenty years from now, that is if the rapture doesn't come this afternoon! ;)

Beautifully said.

marciamayo said...

Thanks, Phil! Yeah, I wanted to get it out before 6 PM. I think that's the time.

Anonymous said...

Marcia- I love this:) It really shows how much a class means to you and how special they are!
-Kathryn

Friko said...

Marcia, you are scaring me, you will have a new lot of second-graders, won't you?

How could you not be a teacher?

Just as each child is different, so each teacher is, but you will surely be Mayo for ever, and all your children will remember you as you remember them.

marciamayo said...

Yes Friko, I'm going back for another year. I saw on the news the other day that there's a teacher in New York who is something like 95. that gives me 34 more years.

MaryB said...

Well said. It brought up all the emotions of saying good by to that special class - which indeed does become a family. Love the way you expressed the thoughts and feelings.

schmidleysscribblins.wordpress.com said...

Marcia, usually you make me laugh today you made me cry.

I have never forgoatten any of my teachers (even the bad ones). They saved my life. A sometimes neglected child, I was one of those kids who showed up looking like I had slept in my clothes. I remember Mrs Wellborn my sixth grade teacher asking me if I couldn't sew on a button when I came to school with a big safty pin holding up my skirt.

I ran into Mrs Bryant, my fourth grade teacher, when I was working in a fabric store years later, and she remembered me, which I thought was remarkable. Mrs Bryant took us on field trips looking for Mandrakes and Oven Birds in those days before they plowed over the creek beds and built the Interstate highways in NC.

I know kids remember teachers becsause I walked around Sheboygan WI with my Aunt Marge on many occasions before she died, and met 50 and 60-year old 'kids' she taught years before.

And, yes, I do remember my first and second grade teacher, Sister Teresa Margaret.

cile said...

You, Marcia Mayo, are a unique and special gift. Those are lucky families that have you teaching their children. I like to think what you share lives somewhere outside of time and will never fall prey to it. So glad you are continuing to teach.

Brighid said...

Marcia, look and enjoy there are others about:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=armP8TfS9Is&feature=player_embedded
This is a wonderful series, and gives me hope for the future of children and teachers.

Olga said...

This was a beautiful tribute to your students and your year together, but it also says so much about you as a teacher. I'm sure that your next group will be just as special with you to nurture them in their own uniqueness.

Linda Myers said...

Wish more of my teachers had been like you.

Arkansas Patti said...

What a wonderful look inside a teacher's heart. I only hope my second grade teacher that I still remember, thought of me on occasion also.

Wisewebwoman said...

Gorgeous post, Marcia. Leaving footprints on each others' hearts.
You have a very rare gift. But you know that, right?
XO
WWW

Vagabonde said...

It was fun reading your past posts – some very funny and others, like this one, so sensitive. I am pleased that you enjoyed your year – years keep going faster and faster when one gets older – it’s nice to have good memories about them.

Nance said...

Honey, I cried. If I had gotten a letter like this from one of my children's teachers, I would have kissed her feet.

The best I can do is present you with the highest award I can offer. There are no conditions to this one; it's just a gift in recognition of excellence for a blog like no other. It will come by email.

Ashleigh Burroughs said...

DEFINITELY a Blog in Full Bloom! Those special teachers, when combined with those special classes really are magical. My kids were lucky enough to have a few, and I can still close my eyes and revisit 4th grade and Mrs. Kleiner. Thanks for the memories.
a/b

LC said...

I'll alwaya think my mother was the best third-grade teacher ever. You get thr honors for second grade.

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