The school bell at 3:00 this past Friday signaled the beginning of Term Break for most students and teachers, but for myself, it marked the conclusion to a rather significant part of my journey here.
I received the most heartwarming farewell from my students this past Friday as I wrapped up my teaching career in NZ. Without giving away the slightest hint that anything was going on, my hip hop crew invaded the staff room in the middle of morning tea and honored me with a beautiful performance the hip hop routine we had been practicing over the past term. Apparently, some of them were hiding in and amongst the furniture, but I didn’t have a clue that anything was up until the music came on, and the room was flooded with my gorgeous little hip hoppers. I’ll be honest- there were definitely some tears. I am SO going to miss their gorgeous little faces. A large portion of the crew are students of mine from this year and last, so we have quite a strong bond. Having never been flash mobbed before, it was pretty special, and I will never forget it. Hats off to my lovely co-worker, Kylie, for sneakily (and very successfully) orchestrating this flash mob. You are super sweet!
The farewelling only continued from here. I received so many lovely cards from students, parents, and staff, and some very special treasures to take back to my homeland as memories of this wonderful adventure.
The hip hoppers also put on a shared lunch, filled with an abundance of my favorite things, including chocolate and carrots- so thoughtful!
At the whole school assembly that afternoon, three of my former students presented me with a beautiful bouquet of flowers, a heartwarming speech, and a trophy engraved with “Best Dance Teacher.” I didn’t know it was possible to earn a trophy for teaching, but I was very honored to accept it. I was truly touched by the extent to which a few particular students, parents, and teachers went out of their way to make me feel loved and honored. I definitely felt the aroha (love), and it was absolutely the best way to conclude my teaching career in New Zealand (at least for now anyways).
While it’s certainly not ideal to be leaving in the middle of the school year, I think for the most part, the students seemed to understand that my time had come to return to my Canadian roots.
We celebrated the end to a fantastic 1/4 of the year together with a “one quarter” party, in which students brought in shared lunch items which showed their understanding of one quarter. I was thoroughly impressed with their creativity and fraction knowledge!
While I am sad to leave the darling Kiwi kids who who were in my care over the past term, the students in Room 10 are very fortunate to have a cool, creative, and vibrant young teacher taking over for me. Miss Smith and I get along great, and we had the privilege of working together quite closely over the past couple weeks to make the transition as smooth as possible.
A heartfelt thanks to all the amazing students, staff, and parents at my school for such an extragant farewell and giving me such awesome days and memories as a teacher in NZ. It was the best send-off imaginable.