In a normal year, in a normal June, I would have been busy this weekend. I would have been at my desk at home, reflecting on my students and the work they have done. I would be writing my comments about how much I have enjoyed their humour, their effort, their loving hearts, and their helping hands. I would have written about how much I have enjoyed the gift of being their first teacher. For some of them, I have been their only teacher for two whole years, and I would have written how they hold a special place in my heart.
In a normal year, in a normal June, I would have been building their photo albums to send home. I would be spending nights putting pictures into Comic Life of our field trip to the farm, of Halloween costumes, crazy hair day, math explorations, artistic endeavors, of Vaisakhi, and Christmas. I would have documentation of learning to send home with each child to share and remember for years to come; a book of memories of their time in Kindergarten and Grade 1.
In a normal year, in a normal June, we would have celebration days to be together and laugh and play. My children would have Sports Day and decorating bikes for bike parades. We would have counted to the 100th day of 2014, and celebrated by making 100 necklaces, eating 100 kernels of popcorn, and laughing as we imagined ourselves 100 year old.
In a normal year, in a normal June, I would have the time to say goodbye to each and every child in my class. I would have the time to look at them and reflect how they have grown and bloomed. I would have the opportunity for last hugs and for a few tears as the little ones I have taught for 2 years leave me, to brave the new world of Grade 2. I would have their certificates of accomplishment made and gold stamped, I would have the time to let each and every one know that I cared for them, was proud of them, and that they would always be one of my kids.
In a normal year, in a normal June, I wouldn’t be locked out of my classroom at lunch, before and after school. I wouldn’t miss a day a week because of rotating strikes. I wouldn’t be facing a longer lockout or a longer walkout.
This is not a normal year, however, or a normal June. I am not allowed to have this time that is precious to me. I am not being given the opportunity to have my celebrations and laughter with these muffins of mine. It fills me with great sadness to see that I might only have 4 days left. Four short days. It is not enough to prepare myself to say good bye to these children who have touched my heart, and affected my soul. And yet, I have to. I have to say an early goodbye to these 21 students. I’m not quite sure how.