Confession time: the end of the year is very hard for me. I happen to be one of those crazy teachers who finds it oh so difficult to let go. Yes, I know...because my own children as teenagers so adeptly informed me a couple of years ago...my students are not sitting around missing me. They are well into the throes of summer freedom - enjoying a relaxed pace, filling their time with fun family activities, reading and writing what they find interesting - and that thought brings a smile to my face even if my heart feels a bit tender.
Here is a letter that I send home to parents that sums up my feelings perfectly. I found this via another teacher's blog many years ago, and it was noted as "author unknown," so I apologize to the author for changing it slightly to make it my own.
I give you back your child, the same child you confidently entrusted to my care last fall. I give her back pounds heavier, inches taller, months wiser, more responsible, and more mature than she was then.
Although he would have attained his growth in spite of me, it has been my pleasure and privilege to watch his personality unfold day by day and marvel at this splendid miracle of development.
I give him back reluctantly, for having spent nine months together in the narrow confines of a crowded classroom, we have grown close, have become a part of each other, and we shall always retain a little of each other.
Ten years from now if we met on the street, your child and I, a light will shine to our eyes, a smile to our lips, and we shall feel the bond of understanding once more, this bond we feel today.
We have lived, loved, laughed, played, studied, learned, and enriched our lives together this year. I wish it could go on indefinitely, but give her back I must. Take care of her, for she is precious.
Remember that I shall always be interested in your child and his destiny, wherever he goes, whatever he does, whoever he becomes. His joys and sorrows I’ll be happy to share. I shall always be his friend.”
It's true, we have a bond that transcends this time and space, having spent more waking hours together during the week than we spent with our own families. We bonded into our own family - a family of learners, and that in itself is a huge privilege and a blessing. While a small piece of my heart breaks on the final day as each student walks out, luckily my heart grows a little bigger each year, allowing me to bond with and love a new family of learners come August.
A wife, mom, daughter, sister, friend, lifelong learner, educator