Now that June has arrived, I begin to think back on my days of teaching when the end of the school year filled me with mixed emotions. I was happy that summer vacation would begin in a few weeks and I would have two months of freedom. I was also touched with feelings of sadness at having to say goodbye to a room full of students who had become part of my family…students who had become my kids.
I think only other teachers may understand how truly attached an educator can become to her students over the course of a school year. You watch them learn and grow. You laugh with them…and share their sorrows. You read and discuss wonderful children’s books with them. You are amazed at some of their youthful insights. You look back at their portfolios at the end of the year and the writing they did early in the fall and are often surprised at how much progress they have made under your tutelage. You feel proud to have helped them along the way.
I know, as a parent, I felt some of the same emotions about my own daughter. I loved watching her grown and change. My pride in her was always touched with a tinge of sadness for the days that had passed…for happy times I knew could never be revisited. With all this in mind, I chose the following poem by Sharon Olds.
THE MONTH OF JUNE: 13 1/2
by Sharon Olds
As our daughter approaches graduation and
puberty at the same time, at her
own, calm, deliberate, serious rate,
she begins to kick up her heels, jazz out her
hands, thrust out her hipbones, chant
I’m great! I’m great! She feels 8th grade coming
open around her, a chrysalis cracking and
letting her out, it falls behind her and
joins the other husks on the ground,
7th grade, 6th grade, the
magenta rind of 5th grade, the
hard jacket of 4th when she had so much pain,
3rd grade, 2nd, the dim cocoon of
1st grade back there somewhere on the path, and
kindergarten like a strip of thumb-suck blanket
taken from the actual blanket they wrapped her in at birth.
You can read the rest of the poem here.
My daughter is now twenty-seven years old. I wish I could travel back in time and relive her childhood days with her all over again. She seemed to have grown into a woman in a few blinks of my eyes.
This poem is for you, Sara, with love.
Visit Wild Rose Reader today for my Interview with Douglas Florian, Part 2.