Friday will be the last day of school. My last day as a first grade teacher (for a while) and my last day as a teacher in China (for a while). Next year I will be teaching university in Laos. My students next year probably won’t cling to my legs as I walk down the hall, or give me stickers and love notes and original art works when they are in a good mood.
I am still uncertain about my feelings about this separation. I don’t know if I should be sad, or just accept it as another bump in the road of life. I am not the kind of person who likes to say tearful goodbyes. I don’t think that the kids will get upset. Most of them don’t realize that I won’t be their teacher next year. In my school it is the tradition that the teachers move up with their same class each year. For instance, first grade teachers this year will be second grade teachers next year and therefore have the same students…so on and so forth until the end of grade 6.
The kids are really cute, and they are great…but will I miss them? Will they miss me? My memories of my first grade teacher are a little hazy. They only things I remember from grade 1 are the time that she twisted my arm behind my back, and the time that I got in trouble for breathing too loud during nap time.
My second grade teacher baby sat my brother and I a few times, but the only things I remember about her in the classroom are one time she yelled at a boy for wiping his boogers on the wall, one time she yelled at a boy for spooking her at her desk and causing her to spill a jar of rubber cement, and that she always used to hold this one petite girl in her lap during reading time. She never held me in her lap. I was husky. I wonder what that petite girl looks like now. I am thin. I wonder if she is stocky. That would be an ironic twist of fate.
I thought that I would pine for my students like crazy when we had our New Year break for one month. But really…I didn’t miss them at all. I had the time of my life (no, I’ve never felt this way before…) and I swear; it’s the truth…(and I owe it all to you)…
When we came back to school after the break, I was expecting them to be thrilled to see me. But in reality, it was just like any other school day.
I am trying to make this last week as painless as possible. I haven’t talked about ‘saying goodbye’ in my class or anything like that. We had the midterm on Monday, and the rest of the week is for coloring, Bingo, and 101 Dalmatians on VCD.
Yesterday in one class I distributed the contents of a bag of chips among the whole class. That means that each kid got like two chips. They were thrilled! That is one thing that I will miss about them…six-year-olds are so easy to please! I give them a sticker, they go nuts! I give them a scrap of wax paper, they grin from ear to ear! I give them one potato chip; their eyes get wide and they say thank you. It’s great. You can’t beat that with a stick.
I will have to conduct an experiment to see what the reaction of a university student is when you give them one potato chip.