Three weeks from tomorrow, when our semester ends, I’ll be leaving my classroom. For the next year, I’ll be the high school learning consultant for my school division. And I had no idea it would be so hard to leave.
I’ve been in my classroom for seven years; it’s my first classroom. And my students have always left me — that seems to be the proper progression of things.
It hurts to leave my kids. I had no idea it would hurt so much. I had no idea how deeply this way of learning connects you to your students. And I keep asking myself, “Is this going to be okay? Did I make the right decision?”
I love the idea of a new challenge. I love the idea of working with other teachers. And my biggest hope is that it will help me to become a much better teacher than I am. But I know what I’m leaving, and it’s a big loss. I’ve learned so much from my students about teaching and learning and the power of people to make a difference. I love their enthusiasm and honesty, and they’ve been so incredibly gracious while I’ve stumbled around learning this inquiry, project-based, technology thing.
And I think, partially, it’s hard because I can see my students are afraid too. Shortly after hearing the news, one of my students came up to me and asked, “the new teacher that we get, are they going to teach the other way? or like you?” I don’t know. I know what I hope.
But I also know that my students have learned how to ask for what they need, and that will serve them well. They’ve learned how to learn, how to create, and how to speak up, and they need those skills much more than they need me.
This morning the parent of one of my students came up to me to thank me for all that I’ve done. But the most important words she said when speaking of her son were, “He’s so appreciative of the way you allowed them to learn.” And that’s really the key. It’s not what I taught them, but what they were able to learn when given the space to do so. And that’s what I hope I can share with other teachers in my new position.
During the next year, I’m not sure what this space will become, or what I’ll have to share here that will be of value to other teachers. I hope something, but if not, it will still be the space where I think and try to grow.
So for the next three weeks, my students and I will struggle with how to say good-bye.