Friday, January 28, 2011

Movin' Up!

If you were to read through what people wrote in my high school yearbook, you would learn a couple of things. First, people have always thought I was a bitch. I’m ok with that, it is what it is. Second, you would see that my intention after high school was to go to college to be a high school history teacher. I did go away to college right after high school and lasted one semester. I hated the school and the people. I lived off campus and had to work, so I really never had the opportunity to make friends. It was a terribly lonely time.

For a number of reasons, I’m glad I didn’t become a teacher. The pay isn’t great and kids kind of suck these days. I’m glad I’m not sitting in some classroom day after day with a bunch of students who don’t give a shit and are happy and allowed to tell me so. But I think I would have hated it most because there would be some students that would have an impact on me and I would miss them when they moved on. I wonder if that’s something that bothers real teachers?

The reason that this is on my mind today is because Spice is moving up in her daycare to the kindergarten room. I am ok with it but concerned because it is so late in the year. The kindergarten teacher has been there for years and was also Sugar’s teacher. She’s a great lady, but I don’t know how Spice will do with her rules and structured classroom. I’m not sure she’s ready for that and I’m not sure that the teacher is ready to take on the Divine Spice Girl.

Spice has moved up within the daycare annually and Sugar obviously changes teachers at the end of every school year. Never once in any of those transitions have I as a mother been ready for the change. Spice never seems to be bothered. She’s been at the daycare since she was six months old and knows everyone. To her, the change simply means a new room with new teachers and new toys. It’s an adventure.

Sugar made the switch to elementary school easily enough, but with each passing year, the end of the school year becomes harder and harder. Mostly it’s because she adores her teachers and she thinks the next one just can’t be as good as the one she just had. The end of 3rd grade was the absolute worst. She was mad for Ms. S and the feeling was mutual. The last day of school was devastating for Sugar and she spent the summer moaning about how much she would miss her teacher. Here we are more than halfway through fourth grade and Sugar still stops in to see her old teacher regularly. The bond was strong enough that Ms. S even came to see her skating competition a few months ago. How often do you find teachers that are willing to do that? I think her presence at the competition meant more to Sugar than the whole rest of us that were there to cheer her on.

The teacher that Spice leaves behind today has recently become a friend on Facebook and she knows about this blog. She’s been emailing me about the change and that she thinks Spice is ready for it. She told me about some paperwork that she had to fill out for the move up. One of the questions was something like, “What can the child never leave home without?” Her response was “A sleep toy and a fabulous outfit,” truly a perfect description of the girl who loves her stuffed animals and tutus. I love to hear this woman talk about Spice because she’s the mother of four grown boys. Her tolerance for bullshit is low, but you would never know it from watching her interact with Spice. This teacher listens to Spice’s tale of woe about how she forgot something at home or was somehow wronged by the world she’s attempting to twirl through, and she basically tells Spice to suck it up and move on. And Spice does it. I need to bottle that fancy teacher-talk and use it at home.

As my girls grow up it seems harder on me than on them to leave behind this path of wonderful women who have cared for my girls all day long. They’ve worked with them to be better, smarter human beings. They love them and cherish them, they know my babies as well as I do. It takes special people to do this job and to every year prepare a new group of kids to leave them nine months later.

As a mother, I welcomed these babies into my life knowing that I would have at least 18 years to be with them constantly. When they leave me for greener pastures, I am sure I will be devastated. How you, my teacher friends, are able to say good-bye year after year is impressive to me. My hat is off to you. I thank you tremendously for loving and taking good care of Sugar and Spice. They will remember you always. 

Ice Princess

1 comment:

  1. Actually, I am grateful and consider myself blessed to have been allowed to share the short time I've been given with my students. It does hurt a bit to let go but it is a joyful ache, if that makes any sense.