I must vent, I apologize ahead of time that this isn't so much about my knitting.... it is about my life changing.
Tomorrow I will spend the last half day of school packing up 13 years worth of lesson plans, favorite books, communication symbols by the hundreds and scrubbing out my fish tank to stow away til I go on to my new job at the high school.
Am I sad? YES! Am I an emotional train wreck? Well that ebbs and flows. Today they called us into work early, and I as I expected, threw us a tribute brunch. It was a bit scary to go into the room of hall neighbors, friends, colleagues and administrators. Scary because I knew I would not be able to contain my emotions.
Only my staff knows how much I can cry if challenged!
It was beautiful to hear the principal praise our efforts at including our kids into some of the programming at our elementary school. It was moving to listen to him describe how one of our students donned a ref shirt during the staff and student B-Ball game. This boy may not have know the rules of the game but he was connected to what was happening and was cheering on his favorite staff people in such a way that there were few dry eyes. This boy came to me so afraid of strangers and new spaces. He has gravitational insecurity, due to his syndrome, and a weakness in depth perception. We all witnessed his growth in tolerance of frenzied activities, noises and unfamiliar events. He had the time of his life thanks to growing more comfortable and trusting in this school.
The principal acknowledged many of our efforts to create a learning space that supported and challenged our kids. He spoke of our devotion to the kids and our ability to be a collaborative team. As he said, the SP ED department may have a plan, but that plan did not allow for any input from our administrators or families. That is how businesses are run, the design team has a vision, we must wait to see as it unfolds whether or not it will be the best possible environment for our learners.
Last week our Multi Handicapped students and staff were the lead act in the school "American Idol" Talent show. We gestured, sang, and danced to the song from Dirty Dancing, "We've Had the Time of Our Lives". We were even joined by our fifth grade friends (girls who love our boys!!) and the crowd was on their feet with applause. We announced to the audience that we all would be moving on new classrooms, new teachers, and new schools. There was an audible whisper of "NOOOO!" from the young kids and many staff who had no idea that our program is being relocated to a school across the city. The outpouring of love and support since then has been constant.
I am so sad to leave the comfort of this place that I think of as home. I am sadder to leave behind the para, (a teacher's aide) who has made me look good as I do what I do, and who like mental telepathy, can sense where I am heading during a lesson or activity and she never misses a beat. (Not to mention her tough love attitude when faced with my emotional weepiness, and my efforts to ward off doomsday predictions when planning field trips.)
I will miss you more than you know. I feel a lot like Dorothy at the end of the movie Wizard of Oz, as she said goodbye to all of her friends. Maybe the balloon will lift off without me and I can stay, but I really don't think that will happen.
So blog readers, thank you for indulging me in my sad goodbyes to a school that I have loved (and detested), to my administrators who supported me and sometimes held my feet to the fire, to my staff and colleagues who inspired me and tolerated my studious attention to minute details, and to my students.... maybe going to the high school will increase my odds of seeing you again as freshmen?