If there’s one thing Shorewood students have down, it’s how to react in the event of a tornado warning. Yesterday was perhaps the weirdest last day I’ve had here in Shorewood. Everyone was ending the year, the sixth graders were having their ceremonies, people were having their parties, parents were there to say good-bye to that year’s teacher and it all came to a sort of fast, then eerily quiet, to a fool me twice type animation throughout the halls.
Last time, or was it the time before, some of the kids were cooling off under the spray of a hose and came in dripping water onto the linoleum floors the rest of us were already huddled along. When the warning was over, it was dismissal and then it was vaudeville. Bodies were dropping, getting back up and sliding around the corner to the safe footing of a dry hallway.
Normally, at the end of the day you have a chance to say goodbye, hand out report cards, graciously accept gifts and hand made cards, reminisce about the year and give teary hugs as the children leave. This year was different. We were told another big storm was on its way and to get home as soon as possible. Report card names were read, grabbed and ran out the door with their parents or friends. Gifts were stacked up on the desks and proper thanks were not even attempted. Heartfelt words across cards made by children had to go unread until the next day. Quick waves out the door, some exchanges of facial expressions that meant we’ve had a great year and an odd unfinished feeling sat there with my partner teacher and me as we looked at each other and shook our heads.
What we would have liked to have said while all our students and parents were there was thank you. Thank you for your humor, your flexibility, your care, your questions, your encouragement, your willingness to get involved and for your beautiful children.
What we would have liked to have said to the kids is that they are incredible. They truly became a family; it was a family with strength and weakness, tempers and forgiveness, love and caring. It was a family that was better for all of us, and when one of us was not there it just didn’t feel the same. The child moving away did not get a proper goodbye from her friends and I feel badly about that, although it was heartbreaking the day before with another.
I’m sure I can speak for many teachers when I say that the children we have the pleasure of living and working with are proof to us that we may not end up homeless, without Medicare in a world full of adults unable to move anything but their thumbs.