I love baseball more than any other sport… but this is a different kind of curveball.
As the final step in earning my teaching license, I was placed in a second grade classroom at Hampton Oaks Elementary for my student teaching assignment. Just a few months after completing this assignment, I received a phone call offering me a job as a new second grade teacher at, none other than… Hampton Oaks Elementary! In the blink of an eye, four years had passed and I was ready to begin my fifth year of teaching at a school that had become my home and with a team that had become my family. It is safe to say that second grade at Hampton Oaks was all I knew. I set up my classroom, attached my nametags to the desks, and met my new, precious second grade students at Open House! For me, this is the moment when I truly get excited for the start of the school year. Putting faces to names and getting a glimpse of their vibrant personalities… it never gets old!
The next morning, I was headed to a CPR training (late of courseJ) when an announcement was made asking all second grade and kindergarten teachers to report to Room 10. I quickly spun around and rerouted my steps to our meeting room. In room 10 we were greeted by our administrators who explained to us that numbers had shifted and they needed a teacher to move from second grade to kindergarten. I’ll spare you the specifics, but after some debate, the teacher that would be switching grade levels was me. No, I was not forced. But I also did not jump at the chance to rip the nametags off the desks, replace those desks with tables, revamp my entire classroom library, and attempt to learn an entirely new curriculum… all within the three short days prior to the first day of school.
I cried… All weekend. I’m talking “How do I entertain a 5-year old? – What do you teach a kindergartner? – My life is over!” type of cry! In case you forgot… second grade was all I knew! The hardest part was realizing that I would not get to teach the sweet students that I had met at Open House. Those bright smiles that I had already become attached to would not be walking into my classroom on the first day of school. One of those students came to pick up his supplies and, as luck would have it, I bumped into him and his family in the hallway. I lost it. Yesterday I couldn’t wait to watch him grow; today I had to watch him leave. (In that moment, his mother probably thanked her lucky stars that I would not be his teacher… because I was a basket case.)
That was not my only ‘basket case’ moment this year… there were many. But the only thing that outnumbered those crazy moments are the moments that were spent laughing, smiling, and learning with my new kindergarten babies. And now, with just a few short days left in the school year, I find myself in tears, yet again. Although this time it is not because I don’t know what to do with them… it is because I’m not sure what I’m going to do without them. I no longer think of them as kindergarteners, or babies, or 5-year olds… they are now a group of well-rounded, compassionate young people who are able to make me smile on the most difficult of days. They have become so much more to me than I ever could have hoped and they are ready to swing at their own curveballs.
This is, by far, the hardest thing I have ever done. How was I able to make it through? Well the snow days certainly didn’t hurt, but all the credit goes to those little ones who were just as scared as I was on that first day of school. We learned together and grew together. They taught me more about myself than I taught them about math. They taught me more about life than I taught them about literature. They are so ready to tackle any first grade obstacle, but that doesn’t make it any easier for me to let them go.
INTENTION: When life throws you a curveball, I encourage you to embrace the change. You will never know how much you are capable of unless you take a swing at it. As scary as that challenge seems, I promise you the reward is far greater.