Tuesday, March 1, 2016

always there {sol 3.1.16}

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My first year of teaching was in the fall of 2003. That year, in my classroom in Creighton School, in Phoenix, Arizona, I met some pretty awesome kids. The year was a whirlwind. It flew by in an instant (much like the past 12) and before you knew it, it was the last day.

I can't remember exactly what meeting I had, but right when the bell rang, I had to go to the conference room to meet with some parents. In the moment, I was too busy to even realize what I'd be missing out on: the last dismissal and the last time I'd see my students that year.

The meeting ended and I went back to my classroom. It was empty. There were no more voices, the laughter and jokes had stopped, and even the arguing had ceased. It was just me, 32 empty desks and chairs, and bulletin boards ripped bare of all the student work.

I sat down in my chair. And I cried.

The year was rough (as are all first years) but it was over. Those kids, my kids, they were gone on home, to go swimming or stop the ice cream truck, or play soccer in the street, and I was left here to clean everything up and put everything away. Alone.

The tears continued to trickle down my face when the door flew open and two rowdy boys bounded into my space. Abruptly, their smiles and jokes stopped.

"Ms. B, what's wrong? Why are you crying?" they demanded, smiles gone.

Through my tears I replied, "Because everyone is gone! There's no more kids here anymore!"

Petie replied, laughing, "But we're right here!"

And he has been there, when he was in seventh grade, he was there, and eighth grade, too. And when I moved to a classroom down the street, he managed to find me there, too. And now that I'm in Chicago, and even though he's still in Phoenix, he's still here online, and my heart swells every time I hear from him.

"But please don't get emotional," he says, and I'm laughing out loud.
Love you, kiddo!


  1. I can tell why you are a writing coach - not just for your skills in creating content but for your passion as well. Glad to meet you on SOL.

  2. Last year, I got to see a a little guy I tutored in 3rd grade. He's now a junior, staring in our school musical. As the Honors Choir finished their concert I was shocked with the huge hug he gave me. Still makes me want to cry over a year later.

  3. The relationships we've built and how we make our kids fee is what truly matters. "I felt at home" That's what sticks. That's making a difference in someone's life.

  4. When I saw this comment on FB I teared up. I could empathize when I was reading about walking back into the empty room to finish cleaning up. Even when we are very ready for summer and the end of the year, coming back up to the empty room is sad.

  5. What a great slice, filled with emotion but also hope about the importance of the relationships we make with our students!

  6. What an awesome message to get from a former kiddo! You've obviously made a huge impact on him. Great post!

  7. What an amazing story!!!!! That's so nice that you still keep in touch with him!!!! You obviously made such an impact on his life!

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