Saturday, March 21, 2015

Embracing the Goodbye Moment with Joy and Tears...

          "What day is it?" asked Pooh.
          "It's today," squeaked Piglet.
          "My favorite day," said Pooh.
                                   ~A.A Milne in Winnie the Pooh

I love the notion of embracing the day. After all the title of this blog is "Live Every Day As If It Was Your Last!" 

I also know that some days are easier to embrace than others.

When the sun comes out  in Spokane, that's a day everyone wants to embrace!

When the Gonzaga Bulldogs go to March Madness
and win against North Dakota State in their first game, that's a day to embrace! GO ZAGS!

* When it is the last day of school and summer fun
is right around the corner, then that is a day children everywhere embrace!

Those are days when it is easy to thank God and be "joyful in all things." 

I get that. I truly do.

Yet Thursday was a day so rich in joy and sadness and deep sorrow and amazement that at this writing 
I have not fully embraced all of it or recovered emotionally.

It is only now, in retrospect, with a cup of coffee and a moment to look back that I can say I am thankful.

That every day, especially days like last Thursday, are a day to hold up in gratitude.

"What happened on Thursday?" you might be wondering. Thanks for asking. I will try to find the words to tell you.

When God made me, one of the gifts He gave me was the gift of being a teacher. From the first grade on I knew this is what I was made to do. My first grade teacher, Miss Ella Faye, was my inspiration. She changed my life and I wanted to do what she did.

Be in a classroom. 
* Teach important things. 
* Believe in students and motivate them to believe in     themselves. 
Make learning fun and challenging and engaging.
* Give of yourself every day, 110% every day, until you are left exhausted and spent.

And most importantly...

Never, ever, ever give up on a student.

Yet one of the things they don't mention in education classes, and teachers often don't discuss, is a well- kept secret about being a teacher.

They leave out the part that in this sacred job of being a teacher, you will fall in love with your students. You will see who they are and who they can be. You will invest in them and root for them. You will challenge them and remind them that they have it in them to do great things.

Even when things go south for your students, you will be one of the people there to help pick up the pieces.

Good teachers are dream makers for students.

We are in the job of helping our students to formulate dreams and move toward them.

I have been a teacher for a long, long time 

(48 fantastic years) and I have had over 10,000 students in my classrooms. I have taught at the high school level, the inner-city middle school level, the University level and for 38 years at the community college level.

I have won lots of teaching awards over all these years, but those plaques and trophies and articles on the front page of the paper don't come close to telling what teaching means to me. How God made me to do this. He created me to be a teacher.

And those articles could never, ever capture

the great JOY teaching as brought into my life.
And the awards could never express what it is like when a quarter is over and it is time for those students to move on.

"Move-on moments" are necessary.

"Move-on moments" are celebratory.
"Move-on moments" are at the very least heart breaking.

I have had lots of "move-on" moments in my 68 years of life. I embraced many of those moments with exuberant joy. Other "move-on moments," like my daughters going away to college, left me joyful, empty, sad, excited, exhausted, confused, grateful and humbled.

Last Thursday was a "move-on" moment for 120 of my precious students.

Last Thursday was the last official day of class for

my four classes. A goodbye and "move-on day" for 120 students. All in one day. That's right, a 120 move ons... hour-after-hour.

I always bring kleenex. This quarter I brought

several boxes, especially for my first class.
That group became a family. Each hour was so profound and fun and exhausting. As one male student said, as he left class each day, "Well that was the most amazing and completely emotionally exhausting hour of my life." And then Brennan smiled. I will always remember his comment and his smile. I will always remember his hug and his words,
"Just so you know, you changed my life for the better."

We had a potluck in each class on Thursday.

We told stories and talked about what we wanted to take away from our time together. Students hugged each other and hugged me. Tears flowed. 

It was the hardest and best day ever. Each of those students has a place in my heart. I will always be their teacher. Always. They have blessed my life in ways they could never imagine.

Yes, Pooh and Piglet were right. Every day is my favorite day. Last Thursday was my favorite day too and I embraced every moment of it with joy and tears. 

God Bless!

Love, Linda



Miss Myia said...

Of course I start crying as I read this today because of having been there, done that with you. I know you know how my life was transformed because of you, Bert and the girls...I miss you more than you can ever imagine right now...yes tears are flowing...I miss your hugs and you looking me in the eye telling me what I need to hear not what I want to hear. I know you pray for me as I do you and I know how hard it is for you after a quarter ends....your love is so unconditional and true and you are so right, you never ever give up on a student....I truly love and miss you...hugs and more hugs and as I said to the girls when they were little...I love you to the moon and back! Myia

Vicky said...

I have tears, too, as I read this. I pray they come back to you, and tell you, share with you, the impact you had on their lives. I hope you fully feel, how well you're living your legacy, daily, and one that touches so many people, including myself.

You are such a gift! I have no doubt, your students have been inspired to go on, and do pretty incredible things in the years to come. God's blessings to each and every one! You friend, are fabulous! So much love to you!

Peggy Sue said...

I know without a doubt this is what you were created for... Because you teach me as well. This was so beautiful. so you! so everything that is all 'life is about'. The grestest gift you give is being authentic, being just the perfect you the lord created you to be. This was so very very beautiful Linda!!! love you soooooooo

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