Room 16 celebrated Valentine’s day on Thursday (the 11th). Our district gave us Friday (today) off because we had two 12 hour days. Those 12 hour days consisted of typical teaching followed by parent teacher conferences until 7:30 pm. Otherwise known as EXTREMELY LONG DAYS. Needless to say after the first 12 hour day I came to work the following day sporting baggy eyes and a large Dr. Pepper.
As long as those days are, I really love the time spent getting to know the parents and seeing them interact with their child. It is hard to have those difficult conversations about students that are struggling academically or behaviorally. However, it is important to have those conversations because parents can make all the difference in both academic and behavior goals.
My first grade team got together and used this RESOURCE I created to set goals for each one of our students (it’s free and it’s editable–so enjoy!). It was really neat for myself and for the parents to collaborate together to make a goal for their child. Our plan is to create a banner in the first grade hallway titled “Reach for the Stars” and every time a student reaches their goal they will get to put a star up with their goal on it!
Finally Thursday arrived, more tired than ever, I woke up early to make sure I was prepared for Valentines day. I will be honest, it was definitely not my best party, but my kids didn’t know the difference. I brought them in from outside, greeting them with my usual “good morning” accompanied by a high five, and was bombarded with Valentines galore. Some of my precious littles were so eager they wanted to start passing them out now. After several reminders of normal morning routine behavior they were all settled on the rug to begin our day.
One of my sweetest boys–Peanut– came to me in tears “Today is my last day.” I knew it was coming, but I was not prepared for it to be on the day we were celebrating love and friendship. I gave him a quick hug and told him we would make today a great last day. And we really did. And I realized it was a perfect day to say goodbye, a day that is meant to celebrate the love we have for each the special people in our lives. Well each one of my students is a “special” person in my life.
As the day came to a close I let my kids play for about 10 minutes then I called them all to the rug. I had Peanut come to the front and we all sat in a circle and said something we loved about him. His face lit up in those moments, and I watched my students search their hearts for something unique to say about him.
The Hulk said one of my favorite comments: “I am really going to miss Peanut because he is such a good friend, but I won’t forget him. I am going to keep him close to my heart so I can play with him whenever I miss him.” Probably the sweetest thing I have ever heard.
The last person spoke and by then Peanut was in tears. I gave him a hug and told him and pointed to his classmates circled around him, “You will always have this classroom, your teacher, and your friends in your heart. We will always love you and whenever you feel lonely or sad just remember all of your friends in Room 16.” At this point I was tearing up, and I looked up to see several other students with red eyes and tears tracing a pathway down their cheeks.
Although it was definitely not how I planned to have my students leave my room that day (in tears), it was a tender moment that we will never forget. I walked out that day smiling because of the incredible classroom community developing in my classroom. My kids had already amazed me the previous week when we met our new friend, but to see them rally around Peanut, and express their love for him was truly a beautiful moment. I’m just happy I was there to witness it. If they leave my room with anything, I hope and pray they leave with a deep ability to love.
Winnie the Pooh always says it best: