Today was an awful rainy Friday and as I finally headed to my car this afternoon I noticed one of my kiddos from last year hanging out in the parking lot with his coat on upside down. (yes, upside down, not backwards) I took a deep breath and instead of going to my car I wondered over to him to see why he was standing in the cold rain.
As he talked I realized he was looking for his kindergarten brother he was suppose to walk home. He didn't know where his brother was and he was worried he was lost. Because of his disabilities this story came out in disjointed parts and I wasn't even exactly sure about it all. I walked him inside so we could get out of the rain and started trying to investigate his problem. Half an hour later I sent him on his way, wondering if it had even been worth stopping to help him understand his brother had already gone home.
Why did I stop? It was raining and cold, I felt sick, had a bad day, and was already thinking about the ice cream I was going to eat when I got home. When I did stop why didn't I just explain to him that most likely his brother had gone home already and he should go ahead and go find him?
Maybe it is because I still see him as "mine". Maybe it is because I worried about this kiddo more than the many other children I've worried about. Maybe it was because despite his confusion it was the most care and concern I had ever seen him exhibit toward another person. And even though he's not mine anymore I still saw his Friday afternoon worry as progress and I wanted to acknowledge it and see it through.
I am having a lot of trouble letting go of my kiddos from last year. They no longer keep me from falling asleep at night, but I still think about them on my drive to work or when my mind wonders in grad class.
Will I ever be able to let them go? Should I let them go, or should I still follow their progress, giving unsolicited advice to their new teachers, chatting with their parents, and giving them hugs and support along the way? Sometimes I think my attachment to them is too much, and sometimes I think it is exactly what they need.
I don't understand why you seem to be beating yourself up about being (a) a really amazing teacher that any student would be lucky to have had and to then correspondingly be cared about by you, and (b) generally just a decent, good human being. I think you should give yourself full permission to be both of those, as you seem inclined to excel at each.
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