This is one of my favorite gifts I've ever received during my time in education. Let me tell you why... 20+ pieces of my heart lie within this canvas. I received this canvas four years ago on the last day of school from my first grade class, when I was still in the classroom. All of my former students occupy a space in my heart, but this class will be forever special. I still remember how incredibly sad I was for the year to be over and I had to say my, "see you laters" to those little faces.
This canvas has been part of my classroom/office decor ever since that day. Now in my role as an instructional coach, I love looking at this canvas and remembering all those little faces and personalities. Only now, they aren't so little...they are BIG and in fifth grade. Time flies! I've loved watching them grow up and become the outstanding young ladies and young men that I saw coming many years ago.
Today, I had the opportunity to eat lunch with a couple of my former students from that class. They were my three-peat school carnival winners to eat lunch with me. We joked about how they have had to bid to win this opportunity every year for the past three years, but they insisted they wouldn't have it any other way and are already asking if they can bid as middle schoolers. It means the world to me that these (not so little) students still have memories from way back in first grade that have made a lasting impression even now years later. My only hope is that they will continue to establish fond memories of school and continue to grow as individuals.
Having lunch with these students today brought back so many memories, and I feel like those incredibly sad feelings will be creeping back when this year is over and I have to say my, "see you laters" and "go get them in middle school-keep in touch!"
Thankfully, those pieces of my heart will always be there.