Back in May, I wrote a post about change. Read it here.
When I wrote that piece I knew I would be facing a change come the end of the school year. A transfer to a different school in our district. I felt I was ready for the change. However, little could of prepared me for the roller-coaster ride of emotions I found myself on for the final two weeks of June.
At times, it seemed as though everything was moving in slow motion. I could not figure out the new timetable/schedule. With our school housing a separate Sports Academy program our schedule is complicated. It took me days longer than it had taken me in the past. I would sit and stare at it, no answers coming.
Most of the time though, I felt like things were moving at a hyper-speed. Year end meetings, meetings for students, interviewing new teachers and new students. There were also final meetings, final staff meeting, final professional development day, final school council meeting, final parent meetings. During these final meetings I found myself thinking…”This is it, my last meeting at St. Pat’s for …” However, it still wasn’t real to me.
Then we had our year-end staff social. I haven’t wrote a lot about the staff at St. Pat’s, but I could write a book. I have been so fortunate to work with a group of people who care deeply about students, work diligently and with integrity to meet the needs of students and families. I have had the pleasure to work with amazing teachers and staff! At our year-end social, which I thought was just like every other year, our amazing staff presented me with a beautiful gift and kind words. Staff members had written me beautiful messages which touched my heart, making my transfer seem a little more real…
The final week of school was extremely busy. It is busy every year, and this year would be no different. I finally figured out the timetable/schedule. By figuring it out, we were able to complete a number of other jobs. However, at our school, this last week of school is a time of crisis for a number of our students. As they look forward to the summer months, they realize the stability of school will not be available to them. Students begin to feel stress and anxiety. I met with a few students who were feeling anxious about moving to the High School next year. While they are excited to be moving on, they are nervous about the unknown. We work with our school liaison workers to encourage and assure these students. I found myself feeling true empathy for these students, excited about the change, anxious about the unknown.
On our final school day we begin with a celebration. We celebrate our accomplishments through the year. I love this celebration! Students are recognized for a variety of reasons, too many to list. We feel there is value in showing students how far they have come during the school year. So, we take this time to celebration.
During this celebration I was surprised with an amazing gift! The students and staff had taken the time to create an acrostic poem for me. Each class had then taken the time to write a special message to me/about me, and they put them all in a book. Each student had signed the book. A student from each class read me the messages, infront of the school. Students who I had worked with, students who I had helped, students who had taught me so much more than I could ever teach them. What they wrote and said was thoughtful and encouraging. While they were reading it I was thinking, “I did that?” “They are talking about me?” and “Wow! They have me confused with someone else!” :) If ever I needed affirmation or encouragement, this was it!!! I know that I will forever treasure this special gift.
On this last day of school there were tears, hugs and kind words. Many parents and families wished me well on my journey & students came by my office for one last hug. Looking back on that day, the change still didn’t seem real.
In our school district we often have an organizational day after the students are done. During this day, we sort, organize and clean. We fill out paperwork and clean, sort and organize for the next school year. :) At the end of this day, many teachers came by to tell me to have a nice summer and to wish me well at the new school. When everyone (except for one teacher) was gone, I decided to walk down the hallways of the school. Hallways that I have walked many, many times in the past five years. As I walked, I found myself looking in classrooms and smiling a little at all the memories. And the realization that I was moving on hit me…
After reflecting for a few days, while I am sad that I am leaving behind a wonderful school, I know I am moving forward with wisdom gained through the experiences I have had over the past five years. St. Pat’s is an amazing school, full of wonderful people who have taught me each and every day! I feel so blessed to have had the experience!