I have been teaching for 16 years and although some things have gotten easier, one of the difficulties of my profession and specifically my job in particular is saying goodbye to kids that I have worked with for several years. It's a great thing to see them maturing, growing, and moving on, but it's hard to see "my kids" go. I grow to love and care for each one of them.
I take my job as a teacher very seriously; it's my responsibility to get as much out of them in the short period of time they are with me. I have to build a relationship of mutual respect and understanding and treat each student as a separate being who has something to offer the world. I hope as they move on they each recognize their own special gifts and talents and also learn how to continue to overcome some of the challenges they have and not see them as excuses or road blocks to their potential.
"My kids" are moving on, but there are new kids to teach and that is the beauty of my job. It really never gets old. Each and every year I learn new things and like to think I grow as much as each of my students.
I sent each of my graduating 8th graders a card with this photo and a personal message along with a Target gift card. Maybe they'll buy some school supplies or a new book to read (I'm thinking no...)