Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Kinley Apologizes

my Mother's Day 2012 card from Kinley

Faithful readers, even though I have already posted about the last day of the school year, I still have lots more to post.  I went through a kind of a writing slump for a couple of months during the year (due in part to an injured thumb), so I have a backlog that I intend to post this summer.

Did you read the note in the picture above?  Isn't it precious?  It meant so much to me that she would write those last two lines.  For her to acknowledge that she'd been mean to me was a pretty big deal, and notice the TRIPLE underlines under the greats?  That must be good, right?

This doesn't exactly undo all the exasperated sighs, rolled eyes, and stomping exits, but it certainly helps.  

Saturday, June 23, 2012

The End of Our Adventure

A proud Kinley displays her President's Award on the last day of school.

I had been dreading and looking forward to this day, all at the same time. The last day of school meant the end of my time as Kinley's classroom teacher, and it meant the end of feeling torn about my job as a teacher and my role as a mom.  It meant the end of Kinley's time in elementary school and the end of my waiting to award her the Principal's Award.  But dread it or not, there it was.

I had come up with a rather idyllic idea of what the day would be like.  I had thought we would spend the entire day smiling at each other, giving hugs and knowing glances, relishing our last day as daughter-student and mommy-teacher.  We would shed a few tears when I made my speech about her during the awards program.  We would take some pictures together.  We would walk down the hallway one last time together during the traditional 5th grade walk, trying to hold it together as the entire student body looked on.

My vision did not include a fight before we ever got to school that morning.  But alas.  Since she didn't know she was getting any awards, she didn't know that my vision included her dressed in a cute little award-getting outfit.  When I told her at breakfast that I thought she should change out of her jean shorts and T-shirt, she got mad and stormed out of the room, muttering under her breath.

Her snit continued for the rest of the morning, including the drive to school (which in my vision was supposed to be a time for mutual quiet reflection on two years of a mostly wonderful experience, preferably with a few, I-love-you-Mommys and I'm-going-to-miss-you-so-much-next-year-Mommys thrown in for good measure). 

So much for my vision.

I met with my colleagues before school and whined about my broken dream, and in the meantime, Kinley must have decided to get over it.  By the time school started at 9:15, all was well again.

At Mayflower Mill we give out Principal's Awards each term to students who exhibit respect and responsibility, and Kinley had received this award in the past from other teachers.  But I had been hesitant to give her this award for fear that others would think I was showing favoritism to my daughter.  During her first year with me I had come up with a solution.  I would give her this most-coveted award on the last day of her 5th grade year.  I would make a speech explaining why I had waited so long, and we'd both cry and hug each other and the whole room would erupt in spontaneous applause and think, "How sweet!  Poor Kinley survived and so did Gina.  Hasn't this been lovely after all?  Wasn't this truly the best choice?"  It would be perfect.

And actually, it went pretty much that way.  There were a few moments of trepidation when my principal declared to the teachers that speeches before awards should be cut so that our awards convocation wouldn't go over the allotted time.  But I decided that she would probably look the other way if I made my little speech, and besides, I had my dream to think about.  The audience was supposed to be applauding and smiling and thinking about how sweet it all was, not being mad at me for disobeying my principal's orders.

You can see for yourself how it went here.
As it turned out, BOTH kids were awarded the Principal's Award on the last day!  Knox got his for growing the most in reading.
And the Principal's Award wasn't all!  Kinley also received the President's Award for scoring at least one Pass+ in ISTEP+ and maintaining a 3.5 GPA in 4th and 5th grade.  Another total surprise to all of us was the PE Award from Mr. Z!  I was so proud of her.
Kinley walks up to get her President's Award from Mrs. Higgins.

At the end of the day, just before the 5th grade walk, I snapped a picture of Kinley and all of her 5th grade classmates.  What a great group of kids.  
Just before the 5th graders took their last walk down the hallway to the bus, Kinley stood in the middle of her classmates, most of whom will be with her next year at Southwestern Middle School.

Then came the 5th grade walk.  Each year all the 5th grade teachers walk down the hallway with their students, so I huddled up with mine as usual.  But this time, one of those kids was my own.

I led my 5th graders down the hallway with Kinley close behind.

As the buses departed and the crowds dispersed, I had a brainstorm!  I wanted a picture of Kinley with all of her teachers from her years at Mayflower Mill.  And lucky for me, they were all standing nearby!
(From left to right)  Mrs. Metzger (K), Mrs. Rooze (2nd grade), me (4th and 5th grades), Mrs Higgins (principal), Mrs. Harshbarger (3rd grade), Mr. Zinselmeier (PE), Kinley, Mrs. Garrett (1st grade), Mrs. Perry (art), and Mrs. Baber (computer lab)

And that's it.  The day may not have started as I had planned, but it ended up even better with Kinley surrounded by the people who shaped her into the person she is today.  Dedicated teachers who guided her and advised her and comforted her and disciplined her and loved her.  Dear friends who helped to keep me sane throughout these two years.

And I'm so very grateful.