The day began as most days do with homeroom attendance and morning routines, but this time there was a different kind of energy. There was a feeling of excitement. I spent the morning with them. We wiped down desks, put books away and completed other random things to tidy up the classroom. They were all easily distracted and many things did not get done. I sent them on their merry way to their final art, music and or gym classes for the year. With no lessons to prep for, papers to correct or parents to contact I intended to use my prep time to finish cleaning and packing up. However, I too was easily distracted and chatted away with colleagues instead of completing the tasks I wanted to get done.
The three other academic teachers and I had organized a party for the students.( I will admit that most of this was planned by the math teacher on my team.) Many students brought in cultural dishes and a variety of desserts and chips for a team lunch. When our students returned from their various allied arts classes we broke bread together. What was nice about this was that our seventh and eighth graders sat together, ate lunch and chatted with their peers and us teachers. In my room several students from all four homerooms came in. There was an impromptu Journey sing along, as one student went to youtube and found a video of the "Don't Stop Believing" lyrics and projected them on the screen. A serious game of Monopoly started in one corner and a game of Apples to Apples in another. Kids bounced back and forth between the four homerooms. There was laughter and excitement throughout.
A little bit later in the day, we went outside for some r and r. We were not outside for a long time, about 20 minutes or so, just long enough. During that time, a football was tossed around, hula hoop races happened and frisbee was played. Some students stood in the shade and laughed and talked, others were just running around, a few lounged in the green grass. It was very enjoyable.
As the end of the day was approaching we gathered our group in the auditorium to view an iMovie made by the science teacher. All of the teachers on my team submitted pictures for the movie. For the next 15 minutes we laughed and cried as we recollected the many lessons, activities, field trips and events over our two years.
And then it began. The waterworks started. The kids finally realized the finality of the day. They were no longer middle school students. They were no longer going to be in the safe comfortable school they have spent the last four years. They were going out into the unknown. They will be venturing off to their prospective high schools going their separate ways.
As tears welled up in the eyes of boys and girls alike, they all came around and hugged and thanked us teachers. I do have to say that I was a bit misty eyed myself. One boy in particular, you know the one..funny but not very motivated ..some might say lazy, came over to me. He gave me a big hug and said, "Thank you for pushing me and putting up with me for two years." I almost lost it, but somehow I managed to keep my composure.
We said our final goodbyes as a group and returned to our respective homerooms. Report cards were handed out and a few last minutes "selfies" were taken. Tears were still flowing when dismissal started. I am going to miss these quirky "little historians" whom I have grown to love, but I know that they are going to be ok.