Confession: I will meet next year’s crop of kiddos on Thursday morning. I will spend an hour with them and smile and prattle. And I will hate them.
Not for always, but for that morning I will. I won’t want them. I’ll be vehemently wishing they’d stayed in their fifth grade classrooms with the teachers who loved them so I didn’t have to fake a smile and waste an hour away from my own kiddos.
Because there are so few hours left. Thursday night my 08-09 Schmidties will graduate – I’ll dab at tears and read their names with a proud and wistful smile. Friday they have a graduation breakfast and at noon I give them one last hug and send them out to their busses as middle schoolers.
Then I shut my classroom door and bawl. And offer a prayer that middle school is careful with them – or if the other middle schoolers aren’t kind, that they remain kind and supportive to each other. And remember that they’re amazing – no matter who conspires to tell them otherwise or what doubts sprout with hormones in the back of their brains.
But Thursday morning I spend with next year’s class. I know I’ll love them. I know they’ll be phenomenal and amaze me in all sorts of creative and unpredictable ways, but right now they’re usurpers – trying to steal their ways into a heart that’s slightly broken with impending farewells.
I know I’ve done my job. I know that each Schmidty feels loved and valued. I know they’ve grown, matured, and changed since September. They are ready – each and every one of them – for the new challenges that middle school will bring them.
I’m just not ready to say good-bye…