The endings, the farewells, well-wishes, those last words of wisdom from teacher to student. Many in my place this week will say their goodbyes with ease and relief. Another school year come and gone. Another year of growing young minds and also some growth professionally. Another year of getting to know a group of unknowns and taking a much needed break from the workforce. Summer is so close! It will be nice to relax. But, in keeping true to you and with myself, I’m going to be completely honest with you, dear reader… I somewhat dread the last day of school.
The last 9 months of my life, I was part of something unique and special with amazing “little people” at the center of everything I did over that course of time. My second year of teaching Kindergarten is coming to a close on Friday and I couldn’t be more proud of them. The class I was given this year couldn’t have been better. Perhaps since my first year in Kindergarten was a literal storm of characters, the students this year did not seem so challenging. However, one student in particular has made these two years in Kindergarten worth every bit of energy I used up. He’s changed my life in ways nobody else ever could and has taught me so much about life itself.
William is one in a million. He is usually very happy and is your ideal little boy. He loves his family and wants to just be one of the kids. He truly enjoys just being with all the other kids. He’s full of energy and my aide Rachel and him have a very strong bond. William is on the Autism spectrum and also has speech apraxia, making the untrained or unfamiliar person very had to connect with and almost impossible to understand. I’ve had William in my class for 2 school years now and I have an abundant amount of thoughts and emotions heading into these last few days. On Thursday, William will walk across the stage, receive his graduation scroll, and answer the question, “What do you want to be when you grow up?” with the response of “Dad!” (we’ve been practicing for a few days). I know right now as I type, it’s going to take a lot of self-control not to cry right then and there in front of an auditorium filled with happy and hopeful parents, all ready to see there little ones take a big step from K to first grade. None more happy, excited, hopeful and proud than William’s family.
It’s taken me some time to finally realize all that I want my goodbye to that little boy to be. I have a space in my heart that has grown very fond of him over the last 2 school years. However, given his cognitive limitations, I must turn to the blog. So, dear reader, please know that the following is meant for a 6 year-old, baseball loving, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle obsessed, little boy, who is leaving me knowing all letters and their sounds, how to count past 50, and can spell his name using magnetic letters on a cookie sheet. A little boy who is slowly understanding social cues, has a big heart, and has a laugh that is 100% joyful! He has a lot of things to work on. We’ve only just begun. But he’ll keep making progress, and as a teacher, that’s all I want to see happen for him in the long-run.
(Also, I did get his dad’s permission to post pictures and he is aware they’ll be on social media, so cool your jets!)
It has been quite the journey with you and I am so thankful for having you in my life. Just as all other meaningful relationships, we had moments of great joy, struggle, laughs, tears, and many small moments that I will treasure. There were many triumphs that only you, your family, Miss P, or myself will know about and that’s okay. I’m excited and looking forward to all the gains you will make next year in 1st grade! I know sometimes it is tough. I know that you just want to be understood and can’t find the way just yet. I know you will one day.
I am glad to have been the beginning step in your path as a learner. It brings me so much joy knowing you like coming to school and seeing your smile each morning is like an instant reset for my own day and life no matter what is happening. You have taught me to appreciate so many things that are typically taken for granted. Your laughter is infectious. And I will never look at meatballs, Santa, and turtles the same way.
As with all students, I wish you nothing but the best! Please have a fun break with your family and I cannot wait to see you in the Fall with your official school uniform on. You have grown so much and have done what I thought was the impossible already. First grade? You got this! No problem at all! Take care little buddy. I hope somewhere in that young, carefree heart of yours you know just how much you mean to me.