It's 6:50 am on my first day of summer.
I should clearly be a. asleep or b. if awake, luxuriating in the idea of not working for the next eight weeks.
But the truth is, I woke up with knots in my stomach.
I miss my students.
I have spent more time with these kids over the past two years of my life than with anyone else.
There will undoubtedly be a great void in my heart and my life for weeks to come.
This group of students is literally the best ever. They are bright and witty and so, so helpful. They are kind and responsible. They love to learn, they love my stories, and they love to make me laugh.
And oh, how they have made me laugh every single day this year.
They have shared so many of my recent adventures and accomplishments. They saw me get engaged, helped me reach my goal of teaching AAP, helped me tackle teaching a new grade level and have helped me plan my wedding (adorable).
They have also demanded my most creative ideas and challenged me professionally.
Most importantly, they are the reason I have jumped out of bed and raced to work every. single. day.
We came to school to work hard & play hard, and that we did.
I mean, we literally started each day with a dance party.
The joy in our classroom was so palpable that other teachers commented on it regularly. The 27 of us, in our little cocoon, shared the magical bond of joy.
The joy of learning, of taking risks, of trusting each other to do what's right. The joy of being liked for who you are, of pushing yourself, of leaving everything at the door except your best self.
My joy-filled classroom.
These kids are going to take on the world one day.
I shared my Life List with them and dared them to create their own~ to dream big, and they have. They want to travel to all seven continents, to go to the Olympics, to skydive.
They want to be teachers and lawyers and doctors and chefs and President of the United States.
And they will be.
So, Fourth Graders of 2013:
Teachers dream of having a class like you.
A class that inspires them, challenges them and reminds them of the importance of their chosen career path.
You are that class for me.
I believe in you, I am proud of you, and I will miss you.
"Many leaves, one tree."