Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Getting Good at Goodbye

In a few hours, I will tell a group of 18 children goodbye for the last time, only this time, they will not return through my classroom door ever again with a bunch of toothless grins. Miss Kramer next door has already came over with tear-filled eyes exclaiming she had broken down with her class. I haven't yet... But then again, it's only 10:30. The children's voices are filling the room, senseless chitter chatter and random squeals and laughs, but the looming moments also come to mind.

Maybe I won't cry this afternoon when the children say their final words. Maybe I'll be so overwhelmed that tears will not cease. Maybe I'm thinking much too into this. Nevertheless, my heart aches knowing this will not only be their last goodbyes but mine as well.

Upon entering this classroom in July 2007, I had the most distinctive feeling... I had become a stranger in my own room. It, for some reason, just did not feel as it had before. As the year progressed, the children entered, and God continued this call, I realized what He was asking of me. This is why as the children walk away today, they are not leaving this room alone. I will be leaving it as well for my last time; God has called me to leave this inspiring position.

All year I have said my goodbyes... I have said my farewells to my Nana, to Brian's Granddaddy, to my first child, and most recently to Brian's dad. I now plan to tell 18 6-year-olds that they will not be able to come back next year and hug me as they had seen my last year's students do this year. This room will be someone else's, and I will be following the will of my very own Teacher... His name is Jesus.

I also must say bye to my fellow colleagues who are now friends, and I will leave two of my very best teaching friends behind. Miss Kramer, who actually is Liz, has become the greatest addition to this year. Had it not been for her, I don't know, with all of the disappointments of 2007-2008, if I would have made it without her. She has truly been a "friend closer than a brother" or sister in my case. Saying goodbye to my best friend and next door neighbor is going to be one of the most difficult things I have done, and I say that with great experience of saying goodbye. I will leave behind one of the most influential friends I have... I've almost been ignoring her lately because I fear the emotions that will overtake me as we say goodbye. (Please forgive me for this shortcoming, Jenny.) Mrs. Jones has been a spiritual leader in this school; she started having devotionals and prayer time once a week even when only a few showed. She's been the most heartfelt and sincere friend I've ever had, and having to leave her breaks my heart. Why must goodbyes be so hard?

The crazy thing is that I'm not fearful. I know that this is what God has spoken, and disobeying Him would be a sin. I must leave this part of my life behind for now, and press toward the prize that God has for me.

With tear-filled eyes I write my last entry as Mrs. Johnson... Goodbye Kindergarten. You have filled my life with joy and the children I've dreamed to teach. Lord, I don't understand why, but here I am saying goodbye.


Lil' Renee said...

I wish you the best on your new journey. You will be greatly missed at Gene Brown, but you and your polka-dots will never be forgotten! :) It has been fantastic getting to know you and the wonderful person that you are. God Bless.
Renee Seybert

Anonymous said...

Since Cole was two 1/2 years old, all I've heard from him was, "When can I go to real school, Mommy?" I had actually enrolled him for Primrose Kindergarten, but he refused. He wanted "REAL school". After almost 3 years of built up excitement, the day finally came. As I watched you walk him hand-in-hand to my car after that first day, we still had no clue who his teacher would be. I was so scared he would get a teacher who would not live up to his "high expectations", and he would be not only disappointed but turned off of school and learning. That fear was quickly relieved day after day as he came home talking about you, and was very excited about going back the next day. He is now very excited about 1st grade, because they have homework 2 nights a week so "Mom, I'm going to learn even more .........!" I am a firm believer that the Kindergarten experience can "Make or Break" the next 20+ years of school that lay ahead. I feel so very blessed that my son was lucky enough to have a mentor as special and faithful as you! Words could never express how grateful I am that you were such an integral part of my son's life ... one he nor I will ever forget.

Thank You from the very bottom of my heart and soul!
Jami Kozlowski (Cole's Mom)