The last day of school was yesterday. I had gotten an invitation to go see another one of my fifth grade classes. The teacher emailed me and said, "The kids want to know if they will see you one last time." I chose to run over before their graduation. I am so glad I did.
I would love to share pictures of what they all looked like, but due to privacy laws, I can't. I will try to paint a picture with words for you. When I entered the room, all the chairs were lined up in the order they would sit for the graduation. The students were sitting quietly talking in small voices with each other. The girls had their hair all combed nicely with braids or bangs or just flowing free. They were in cute little sun dresses with flip flops to match. Their legs were crossed and hands in their laps. Was this really the class I taught just a few months ago?
The boys were even better. They were all cleaned up. One had a suit on. A couple others had vests and ties. One looked so cute in a big bow-tie. They too were sitting quietly just talking to each other. When I told them they looked so handsome, they smiled shyly and sort of looked the other way.
The teacher gave them the last minute orders and it was time to line up. As they left the room each of them gave me a hug, or a high 5 and said, "Thanks for all your help this year." I snuck around them and hurried to the gym where the ceremony would take place.
Parents, grandparents, sisters and brothers filled the bleachers and spilled out into the sides. There was a large table in the middle of the room with flowers and balloons decorating it. The orchestra was off in a corner with the seats and music stands already in place for them to file in and start warming up. I slipped down the side and sat where the teacher had a seat for me...right behind where the class would sit.
Before long the music of the orchestra began. The strong chords of Pomp and Circumstance filled the gym. The principal, dressed in a long dress with a sparkly jacket, stood. The entire gym full of anxious parents stood, too. Then the graduating class marched in with each class behind their teachers. I was so proud of those kids. They were serious and walked slowly across the gym. I cried!
After watching them grow up, watching them discuss books, watching them write pieces that took over a month to publish just the way they wanted it...it was just the feeling of: this is why I teach! Way to go Weisser Park 5th graders!!!