No Goodbyes.

Today was an interesting day to say the least.

First of all, this is the first full “normal” day of school we’ve had in a while. Yesterday we had a three hour delay for cold rain (seriously — it was just cold rain) and Friday we had a three hour early release for inclement weather (things legitimately did get really icy, so good call DPS). To top that off, last week was a short week since we had Monday off for MLK. Basically, the kids have lacked serious consistency as of late and suffered a bit because of it today. All morning they were super unfocused and had such a hard time getting through our reading lesson. On top of that, I got really stressed out about these reading tests I need to finish and papers were everywhere and kids were spacey and it just all stressed me out.

Also, my clock is broken. Which is just annoying.

Anyway, the plus side of all of this is that our afternoon was fairly calm until dismissal, and I was pleasantly surprised at all of the questions we had for our “Want to Know” section of our Plant Survival KWL Chart (I credit the sweet Bill Nye video I showed the kids on Friday).

I was also surprised when I received an email about sending a student’s things to the office for her mother to pick them up this week. Apparently, this particular student is no longer in my class and has withdrawn.

I was also even more surprised when I walked a student up to the office for early check-out, only to find an email in my inbox when I got back to my classroom saying that it was that student’s last day today.

Let it be known that I met this student’s mom today for the first time and that this student had no idea today was his last day.

The other girl in my class who has withdrawn also didn’t know her last day was last week.

This just breaks my heart. These were legitimately good kids with good attitudes who are now elsewhere in the world.

I don’t know how to say this other than I feel cheated. I feel like their time in our classroom community was cut short, and both these students were truly thriving in third grade at Parkwood. They really were being their best in B-10, and that is always so amazing to see from everyone in class!

It’s hard because you build relationships with these kids. I don’t just have students, I don’t just have numbers — I have real, little people in my presence every day.

I remember moving in the middle of my second grade year. My dad got a new job and we had to move from Ohio to North Carolina.

…in the middle of the school year.

My 8-year-old life was in shambles — I had to say goodbye to my Brownie Troop and all my teachers and the cute boy who rode my bus. I was upset for a long time and I’m pretty sure I literally told my parents that they ruined my life (just ask them, I think they’ll agree with that statement — I was a pretty dramatic kid).

SPOILER ALERT: I fortunately ended up turning out okay and the decision to move back to North Carolina was one of the best I think my parents ever had in the history of their lives with children.

I know what it’s like to move in the middle of a school year. However, I don’t really know what it’s like to move again. And again. And probably again.

The more I think about these kids moving all the time makes me really think about the state of their learning. Some kids who move around a lot are bright, and their learning might not be too terribly affected by a plethora of first days of school throughout the year. What concerns me are those students I have in class for less than a full quarter who need more academic support who probably won’t get that when they’re bouncing around schools like they’re doing now.

I had good relationships with those two students who left my class this week, and it just makes me so sad to see them go, especially without any goodbyes. I have to explain to my class tomorrow that two of our friends aren’t coming back to B-10 anymore.

Some people might read this and think,

“Hey, this is great for you — you have a smaller class now! More manageable!”

Well, yes, this is true. I can’t argue with that, because smaller numbers in a classroom make a huge difference (I had six kids absent on our ice delay day last week, and just having six fewer bodies in the room was a drastic change!). The challenge before me is that I now have a higher percentage of struggling students. These struggles range from being below grade level with reading to behavior. It’s nice having students on or above grade level so I can pair them up with others and have some student helpers dispersed throughout the class.

I’ve been thinking about all of this since the afternoon and I realized the fluctuation of students I’ve had this year. I started with 20, then gained three students from other Durham schools plus another student from out of state, plus another student from another third grade class. I then lost that out of state student a mere four weeks later, then lost the other student from a different third grade class to another school. Now I’m losing a student who has been at Parkwood since kindergarten and a student who came to my class late from another Durham school, and I’m almost back at my original class size.

When I accepted this job, I was told that the population at the school was transient. I knew I would have students move in and that I would have students move out, but I guess I didn’t realize how much that would affect me emotionally.

I guess I really do love these kids quite a bit.

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