But, today, I'm sad.
Let's talk about the sadness first.
Today is the last day of summer school. While I should be jumping up and joy, hiring marching bands, and setting off fireworks in my backyard - I'm not. I'm playing a sad song...because as much as I'm looking forward to getting back to my summer, I'm going to miss those kids so much.
These past two weeks have been AMAZING. Go back and read the first post from my first couple of days. It's incredible the change of heart that has taken place. While I was counting down the minutes to the end from the first couple of hours of beginning....I have a totally new outlook on how fun summer school can be for me, and how much fun I can make it for a big ol' group of kids.
I love teaching 4th grade, I really do. But, to have this time to teach Jr. High kids - connect with them, learn from them, build relationships...it's an experience I have needed and loved.
For the past couple of weeks, I haven't felt much like a teacher. I've felt like a mother figure... or big sister, maybe. Teaching those kids something has always been at the top of my priority list, but I quickly realized it didn't have to be something out of a book, or a lesson plan. I was able to provide experience in team building, social skills, and life skills. And, my ultimate goal was to let these kids have fun while learning in the process.
I just had no idea how much fun I would have doing it.
And now I'm at the last day. While the kids will all be celebrating and excited, I'll be secretly hurting inside that it has to end. Because, honestly? I could totally keep doing it for another couple of weeks. As long as it was more of a free-teach... where I had the leeway to teach whatever my big heart so desired.
But, one thing I got to realize before it was all over was how much these kids have grown to love me... and that happened yesterday.
Yesterday afternoon was the summer school talent show. We didn't get to have our talent show at the end of the year because of weather problems and 8th grade recognition reschedules. Our principal thought it would be a neat idea to allow the kids to perform during summer school, being that they didn't get their chance the last day of school.
I got up and sang a couple of times during the MAP test celebration...and it wasn't exactly that great, but it let the cat out of the bag that I can sing. The reason my performance wasn't so great back then was because of my stage fright. It makes me very nervous to sing in front of a large group of people - and if I do, I become shaky. Which causes my voice to become high and off key.
Despite that, my principal thought it would be a good idea for me to sing something for the talent show... because the kids love it when the teachers get up and do something.
The past couple of weeks, I've had 2 girls in my class that can do the cup routine that goes with the song "The Cup Song" that's featured on the movie Pitch Perfect. When I found out that my principal wanted me to try and sing something, I thought it would be perfect to sing the song while the girls did their cup routine.
Well, we practiced a little that morning... and it was to be kept a secret that I'd be singing in the talent show.
The time came. I started getting nervous and shaky. There were 15 performances a head of us... and there had been a ruse set up that the talent show would end, and the then the two girls would get up and break in for a last minute entry. Then, I would get up and join them.
The time came. The other acts all finished up...and then the girls stood up to break in to the show. And then I stood up.
I can't explain the noise that then erupted from the bleachers.
I walked down, took my place, and sang. And, you probably won't ever hear me say this... but it sounded really good. I was hitting the notes, I was singing the words right. Not that you would know... because the screams were so loud, you could barely hear anything I was doing...nor the girls sitting in front of me doing their cup routine.
Luckily, someone caught it on video...so I'll let you hear it for yourself....
After I was done performing, the bleachers went crazy. The Jr. high kids were on their feet and clapping and screaming their their little hearts out.
Then, it was time for the voting of the winners. My plan was not to participate in that portion. I was just an added bonus to the show. But, the kids weren't happy with that... and my group was asked to come down for the voting. The voting consisted of the loudest cheers from the audience.
As each finalist received their applause from the crowd, I didn't think there was any way that we would receive a louder cheer. There was a couple of boys from the Jr. high that performed a pretty amazing dance routine...and when they got their vote, the ground was shaking from the cheers.
And, then, it got to us. And I was wrong. I thought the bleachers were going to collapse by the stomps and yells and jumping and clapping that was going on. I expected a good reaction... but nothing like that.
Then, we won.
The two girls received a medal..and I received a huge hug of thanks for them. They had no plans of entering the talent show until I approached them... but they wanted to. They were just too afraid. I was able to not only give them the opportunity, but to also give them a platform to win the whole thing. And, the truth is.. they were the stars of the show. Their cup routine is amazing. They provided the music to which I sang along with just two cups, the floor, and their hands.
I know, though, that even if I had gone up there and sucked... I probably would have still received the same reaction. I truly felt that my cheers weren't for my performance, it was an expression of how close I've gotten with all these kids in such a short time. It was their way of showing their appreciation for taking the time to get to know them, understand their likes and dislikes, and to make their time with me as fun as it could be.
And that's something I get to lock away in my heart of memories. It's something to be proud of. It's a reminder as to why I became a teacher in the first place. Because I truly believe that a teacher that takes the kids wants in to account, earns their respect, their attention, and their hearts.
Alright, time for me to go...