For my classes, I’m expected to write various reflection papers. Most of them relate to the portion of my semester that I spent as a student in my university’s classrooms.

But that wasn’t the most important part of my semester. The most important part of my semester was the moments I spent teaching and being taught by Senora and our students. There was this morning when one of my sixth-graders asked me what a Garfunkel was when I told them that according to Simon and Garfunkel, I was the only one allowed to break hearts.

Or there was the eighth-grade boy who told me that he was going to hug me before I left. He has five more school days (and he’ll only see me on three of those days) before I leave.

Then there was the fourth-grader who asked me if I was going to cry when I said good-bye to them. I said I’d only cry if they made me. He wanted to know how to make me cry. I told him that if they made me cards or wrote me happy notes or made me presents, then I would cry. Then he asked me how to make me a present. I told him to figure that one out for himself.

And the fifth-graders just wanted to know WHY I had to leave them.

After I left the kids today, I went home, ate lunch, and then I took the OPI. I don’t know for sure, but I think I might have rocked that thing. I hope (please God, I’m begging you) that I got an “advanced-low” on the exam. “Advanced-low” is the minimum requirement for teacher certification in Michigan. And for once in my life, I’ll be quite happy with the minimum. Quite happy. So, keep praying for a good and merciful grader.I should have the results by Christmas. Hopefully, I’ll get the greatest, no make that SECOND greatest Christmas present of all time. (The first Christmas present of Christ himself is, of course, the greatest.)

On Monday, I go back to WCA for five last days. Unless snow interferes and shortens that number for me…we’ll see about that. But I will hopefully have the opportunity to say good-bye to each and every one of my babies.

And yes, I am now calling them my babies. Some of you may remember that back in September I said

Senora calls them her “bambinos” and tells them that they’ll be her babies until they’re 18. Umm, I’m not quite ready to go there yet, but I love those kids. I may not be that much older than them, but they’re my kids.

Well, that was over two months ago and so, so, so much has changed since then. They are my kids. And they are my babies. The eighth-graders aren’t really my babies; we’re too close in age. But they are my kiddos. MY kiddos. I love them. And I am not ready to leave them. Nor do I want to. I have to. I have no choice. But I’d like to stay with them. I love kindergartner hugs. So many things have passed between us in the past three and a half months, in the past sixteen weeks. Words, memories; we have shared something. I have given them a part of myself. And now, I have to leave. I give them back to Senora and their parents. I move on to other children.

But I have to leave my babies. I’ll leave my classes behind. Willingly. But honestly, I’d really rather not leave my munchkins behind.


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