One of them ran up to me today, and tugging on my elbow, began with, "Miss Honey--!" Right orchard, dear one, wrong tree.
People, in all areas of my life, keep asking when my last day of student teaching is, as if it's going to be the happiest day of my life thus far. Masters degree in hand, yes, that will be nice. Teacher's cert, in hand, yes, that will be nice. But my last day of student teaching being one of my happiest days? Are you kidding? I'll be crying like a baby. If the waterworks don't start before then.
Not that they haven't already. For other reasons. I got the "expect a phone call" call a few weeks ago, right before a formal observation, the lesson for which went well, but for which I gave myself a dress down for a positive neutral critique [observations, it has been my experience, can't be positive, lest one becomes cocky, so a neutral or positive neutral is what you shoot for]. My regret was not saying to my supervisor, "I just got the "expect a phone call" call, and I'm a little sensitive right now to phrases like 'Thus and so won't be around forever' ". There's nothing in the student teaching manual that covers "death of a family member". It's happened before; it has to have, but there are so many possibilities that they keep it generalized. Also, when I started this, Grandpa had yet to be diagnosed; how was I to know?
So I keep smiling, and sending cards home every week or so, and try not to equate of the end of my experience with death [once the seed has been planted...]. Is it awful I'm praying my grandfather passes a few weeks before the end of my experience, or a few weeks after? But not the week of my last day and exit interviews? Does this make me a bad person? I expected he would have passed already, but he's still hanging in there, but he's sleeping more and more, and is beginning to refuse to eat more and more. Italians; they don't die, they just pasta away.
The next great question on everyone's mind, where are you going and what are you doing? Everyone wants to know what region I'm now [or thinking of] moving to, and what age group I want to teach. Right now I want to transition the living and bury my dead. Which means relocating is a little out of the question. I have been quite happy working with the 6-8 set for two summers of Pgh summer dreamers and now my student teaching, but I would be equally happy trying something else. I dislike saying "I don't know,"; we're taught as graduate students to have definitive answers to everything. To back it up with scholarly research and quantifiable evidence. Would I love 4th grade? I don't know, but I'd love to find out, as I have no evidence to indicate that I wouldn't. For this reason, I wish placements were a little longer, and were dual, at two different grade levels. Personally, it would have meant that I wouldn't have gotten so attached to the children in my class. Which would mean leaving would be easier. I knew when this started that I would probably fall in love. I knew because I could say that I was well on my way to falling with the first graders I taught two summers in a row. As the program was a month long and I wasn't their regular teacher, it was easier then to say goodbye. I'm not sure how well I'm going to fare on my last day here. I hope I can exit gracefully.