Goodbyes are hard. This past Friday, I had to say goodbye to a group of kids that I had spent 5 out of 7 days a week with for the past four months. They are a really awesome group of kids, and I am truly sad to have to leave them, especially in the middle of the year. With the way things worked out, we didn’t have a lot of time to process the transition that would take place either, but we did have some good discussions around change, and I know that they will be ok. Some of my highlights of our time together included creating and performing a whole class dance to Feist’s “1234,” conducting the “Rice Experiment” in our classroom, reading the kids’ hilarious letters written to my father in order to convince him to come to NZ (which they successfully did!), and hearing deep and thoughtful ponderings on life as we listened to and discussed a new song as part of our weekly “Music Monday” sessions. Ah, good times indeed!
The decision to leave the school I had worked at for nearly two years was certainly not an easy one. I made some good friends on staff there, and especially loved working next door to my lovely friend Gina.
We had become an awesome support system for each other, would share resources often, and would sometimes do joint theme weeks and film studies with our classes. I had the pleasure of working with some truly stellar people.
Breaking the news to my kids was not easy. I tried to be as open as possible about it, and let them ask questions. Questions quickly turned to concern over classroom decor. “Are you going to take the owls? Will the vinyl records still be on the walls? What about the poster with your picture on it? Will you leave something for us to remember you by?” Bless their little hearts. I will leave one owl, I told them, but will likely take the others over to my new classroom out West.
To celebrate our time together and achievements up to this point, we jam-packed our last days with some fun activities: Some dodgeball on the field, an “electronics afternoon,” a few games of “Mafia,” a little photoshoot action, and a shared lunch.
By the end of my last day, our classroom looked and smelled like a florist shop. I was really touched by all of their beautiful cards, and all of the lovely and generous gifts that they brought in. I even had not one but two songs written and performed for me on my last day. I know I am going to miss these kids immensely, as they have etched their way pretty deeply into my heart. Still, I know the decision to move on is the right one for me.
I won’t get into the details of why I am leaving my previous school, but I can say that I am moving to a school that is more in line with my own personal convictions and values as a teacher. A couple of months ago, I actually had an opportunity to visit my new school of employment on an observation with a few other beginning teachers. Obviously, I liked what I saw. So much, in fact, that I applied for a job there. I guess they liked me too, because they hired me.
This is all to announce that the owls and I will be setting up camp in a classroom out West near the laid back and artistic suburb of Titirangi. On Monday, I will have a new bunch of Year 4 students to care for, and I am looking forward to get to know each of them. My new school is about a 20 minute commute, which isn’t too bad, just a little longer than the previous 10 minute walk. Luckily, Brendon also goes out West for his studies, so we are going to try out making the commute together and see how it goes.
Although change isn’t always the easiest, I am excited about this new phase in life and feel confident that this is the right move for me. Thank you to everyone who has been part of my story and journey at Maungawhau over the past two years. I am so grateful to have known you, and for your support and encouragement as I make this transition.