This was my first year at a new school and I saw my second set of students graduate. My 6th grade babies are moving on to middle school. I dreaded this day for a while as I really enjoyed teaching this group of kids. It is sad to see your students leave, but that is a day that must always come. They were my favorites for the past year and provided a lot of fun and great memories for me.
Originally I had planned to give each student a hug goodbye, but the goodbye ceremonies were very different from my first year since it is a bigger school. I lost the opportunity to say goodbye to a lot of students, which was really sad for me. However, I am thankful that I was able to attend graduation. After all the graduation certificates were handed the students began to make rounds taking pictures. A few students gave me gifts of chocolate, cans of soda and coffee, and some even wrote little letters to me. It was really sweet and made me feel like I am making a difference in their lives.
As I walked around the 6th grade hallway to say my goodbyes to whoever remained, I was stopped by one boy’s mother. She said to me in English how much her son really loved me and my classes. She said that he was going to miss me very much. I had no idea that this student enjoyed my classes or like me as a teacher. I gave him a quick hug and a kiss on the cheek as a goodbye present. His mom asked if we could take a picture together even though he was a little teary eyed. I realized how sad it would be not teaching these sweet munchkins anymore.
Fast forward to the beginning of March and I’m greeted by, “Hello, Nina teacher!!” on my way to work. My 6th grade turned middle schoolers decked out in various uniforms greet me as I run into them. This brings a huge smile to my face. One girl who in particular liked me stopped and we hugged each other in the middle of the cross walk. It was such a welcome morning surprise. So now every morning I get lots of hellos, smiles, waves, and a few head nods from the boys. They never really were talkers.
A few students came to visit a few weeks ago at the elementary school. It was great seeing them and how they are doing in middle school. A few asked, “Teacher, do you remember me?” And of course I always answer, “Yes, I do. But I’m bad at names.” One girl said she tried to visit me, but I wasn’t at school. So I asked, “Well, what time did you come?”
“Hmm… around 5 p.m.” she said.
I laughed, ” If you wanna see me, you better get here before 4:40. Because I leave as soon as I can.” They laughed. I look forward to seeing them on the streets of Incheon every morning and afternoon. Just last week a student was riding his bike to school and stopped to say hello. He told me how hard middle school is and how much he wishes he was an elementary student again. I smiled and told him it’d all be okay. It’s the little things that really make my day. Seeing the kids smile means the world to me.