Celebrating Teaching: End of the Year Love
It was 6:30 p.m. last night. I could have been home with my family, but instead I was standing crying with Emily, the public school district photographer, waving—smiles behind my mask and tears behind my sunglasses. We were at a school goodbye parade with 30+ other teachers. Kids went by in cars, many of the kids standing up waving through the sun roofs, others sitting in the front seat and weeping. Some cars were decorated with balloons and streamers and others were undecorated in their come-as-you-are, we're-lucky-we-even-made-it-on-time finery (that would be me). This was School Parade 3 for me, probably Parade 15 for Emily. This is teacher's love in action: School parades, where we line up along the sidewalks of the schools we teach in, masks on, and stand for an hour with streamers, signs, and noisemakers to wave goodbye to our students for the year.
It's odd, alright, but it is so beautiful. Parents who are complaining that the schools have "failed them" need to spend a couple minutes at one of these parades to see just how much love teachers have for their students. (I read a long Facebook tirade from a handful of parents last week and it made me very sad!) Remote learning wasn't easy, and it didn't necessarily work for everyone, but boy did we try. Every family seems to have struggled; so did every teacher. This has been tough, but emotional health matters too. It matters most during this time, if you ask me, and we were all so happy to see the kids' smiling faces if only just to see whether they are alright. Most of them seemed to be. That was good.
Lots of love. We're all ready for the summer, don't get me wrong, but seeing those faces one more time mattered. Truth: The students matter to the teachers a great deal, and that's why, in addition to doing our teaching the best way we know how, many of us are also taking the time for special tributes to the kids. Here's some of my love—three celebrations of my band students . Just look at these beautiful faces making music.
Manomet Elementary School Band Farewell: https://youtu.be/6ZujWTk--9s
Nathaniel Morton Elementary School Band Farewell: https://youtu.be/JL07-uf1tSc
South Elementary School Band Farewell: https://youtu.be/G9-2LYDoSFc