And so, at long last we finally come to the end of the 2016-2017 school year. So much has happened from the time the students first came to my class until now as we say our goodbyes. Yesterday was the last day for five of my homeroom students so the farewells actually started early.
The day started out like it always does, minus the five who are already enjoying summer. Over the course of the day more and more students went home early until there were just a fraction left. I started out the morning with 21 students (five were absent) and I walked 7 students to their buses for one last time once the after school kids and car riders were called.
If the school year can be compared to a day, the sun has set. My now former students go home to a much deserved summer vacation. I'm sure that I will see many of them at some point in the near future but it is never the same. I miss them already but the time has come to let go.
As I had mentioned last Friday in my final weekly email to parents, I will not be here when students return. I will be at Winget Park as the new STEM lab teacher, following the STEM magnet. It is exciting and I have a lot to plan for. But right now, my thoughts are on the present and how I will greatly miss my now-former students and Palisades Park as well. We did the traditional bittersweet waving goodbye as the buses rolled away for the last time this year. Then yes, the teachers celebrated!!!
What I never get used to, no matter how long I teach, is the morning of the teacher workday following the last day of school. Though the students are no longer at school, the bells are still on and despite me telling myself that the year is over, the morning bell ALWAYS startles me. My initial reaction is panic since I have no lesson plans and I am wondering what I am going to do with the students. I then realize that no one is coming and no one will until August. All of this happens in the span of seconds.
Monday morning will also be the start of the custodians doing their summer cleaning. If you have never been to a school after the year ends, you would be amazed at the rapid transformation from neat classrooms to furniture stacked in the hallways. It's as if the year had never happened.
I will be spending Monday getting my room ready for signing out and moving the last of my things out of the building. I will have other tasks to attend to before I leave for the last time such as making sure all of the math and science stuff assigned to the school is packed away in cabinets with each door labeled.
I will now bring this entry to my What We Did Today blog to a close. Over the summer I will change it to What We Did This Week to reflect the fact that I will be teaching all grades. This website too will continue to undergo changes as I make the transition to my new school but not right away. I will give it a few weeks and then I will return to the task of working on it.
Thank you for making my three years as Palisades Park some of the best in my entire career. I will always look back with fondness when I think of this school and the many amazing students (and their families!). Of course, I will still visit here at times since my daughter will remain here at least for her third grade year. This time I will be here as a parent rather than a staff member; it will be strange!
In addition, Ms. O'Hare and I will be looking at ways where both of our schools can do STEM-related things jointly when possible (Think sister schools). We will see how things go since our STEM program will be just getting started. We will be exactly where Palisades Park was three years ago when it first opened in August of 2014.
Thank you again to all of the parents, students, staff, and members (past and present) of the community who helped make our school a success and for making a difference in my life. I truly hope that I have done the same!