It’s been 7 days. 7 days since I’ve seen my 85 cherubs. Since I’ve walked some of them home along with a couple other teachers a few blocks to make sure they get to the apartment complex safely. And it’s been a beautiful 7 days!
Beautiful as in, I’ve only set an alarm once and it was for a ridiculously late time. I’ve had coffee out of a normal coffee mug and stayed in my pjs until noon (or later. Shhh). I’ve spent time snuggling my new niece, chatting with friends over long lunch and having very little “plans” to speak of. But friends, it’s happened already. I’ve already sighed the words “I miss *insert kiddo’s name here*” to Mr. Man over dinner. And now, there’s no going back.
I miss school.
NOW. Don’t get me wrong. These past 180 days were some of the most exhaustingly wonderful days, and I was cheering out the door right along with the rest of the staff on our last day. If you follow me on Instagram, you’ve seen the coffee I’ve consumed, the paperwork I’ve swam through, and everything in between. Due to a lack of snow days (read: ZERO. NOT A SINGLE ONE) our district had this year, we’ve been blessed with 11 weeks of release from our school building and wearing a name tag lanyard on the daily. Yep, eleven.
(mostly this ^^. My Instagram looks a lot like this)
I’ve got a summer chock full of plans. The other day a good friend asked me what I was excited for most this summer and I replied “….all of it!” because I truly am. Venturing out of my comfort zone to lead pre-k summer school speech, teaching piano lessons for the first time, witnessing some of my best friends marrying their best friends, directing vacation bible school, hitting up the TPT conference in Orlando with my blogging BFFs… Bring. it. on.
But I miss school.
You see, for some/most/all of my kids (and the kids in our school I don’t service) school is the only constant they know. They see our faces so much more than some of their own families’, and have a reliable source for 2 out of the 3 meals they eat each day. In the Title 1 population my elementary school services, that’s a huge whoppin’ deal. There was a 4th (now 5th) grade student on my caseload who walked home next to me on the last day of school with tears racing down his cheeks. Known as a kiddo with a tough outer shell, I asked this kid what was up. “I don’t wanna go home, Ms. Jones. I don’t want summer. I wanna be here. With you guys”. Cue the tears, y’all. School is his place.
This Title 1, low income-servicing SLP misses school…but not the 4 brick walls. I miss what school stands for to these babies.
I had the awesome assignment of morning arrival duty this year where I would eat my breakfast cup of yogurt standing in the hall and greet kids as they came into the building every morning. By day 180, this was an expected part of their day. I asked how their weekend was and they shared tiny pieces of their lives…every. day.
So now, for 11 weeks, I will miss them. I will worry over them and think of them and pray for them. I hope they have enough to eat (they probably don’t). I pray they’re safe (some of them aren’t). I hope they’re staying cool and hydrated (it’s already so hot here). I obviously hope they do their speech homework and read lots of books (they probably won’t), but first and foremost, I miss them. I miss their stories and their smiles and knowing that, for at least 8 hours a day, they were in a building where they were fed and loved and had what they needed, if only for the time being.
The controller in me needs to “let it go”(HA!) because they’re not my biological children and they’re probably fine. In their sub-culture, they stick together and care for each other like a family, blood relation or no. But the mushy part of me will think of them, each of them, and drive just a little slower when I pass their apartment complex to see if I can catch a glimpse of them on the basketball court. And I’ll carefully and mindfully write their names on new data sheets in August and I WILL soak up every second of these fast 11 weeks.
And then I’ll get ready to do this…all of this…all over again.