Saying Goodbye


Saying goodbye sucks.  It really does.  Saying goodbye to a community and school district that has given me everything I have as a teacher is the hardest thing I’ve had to do.  These kids have weaseled their way into my heart in a way that seems illogical.  They are just kids.  Other people’s children they have raised who I see for an hour or two a day.  Then they go to their house and I go to mine and we live largely very separate lives.  But at the same time, we understand each other on a very deep level.  They know what aggravates me (gum chewing, cell phones in class, talking when they shouldn’t be).  They know what makes me happy (purple, helpful children, playing rhythms correctly).  I know their families (some wonderful, some not so wonderful).  I know their personalities.  I can tell from the second I see their face what kind of day they are having (just as they can tell when they see my face).

I’m often called a “passionate” person.  I interpret myself in this way:  Either I don’t care about something at all, or I care a hundred and crazy percent.  I care about these kids a hundred and crazy percent.  They have worked hard.  They have grown so much as musicians.  They have learned to put the needs of the group before their own needs.  They have learned what I expect from them:  “Have fun.  Work hard.  Be helpful.”  And they execute all of those things beautifully.  When I need a student to carry an enormous instrument because a student is on crutches and can’t carry their own, I have fifteen kids volunteer to carry it.  When I get to school 40 minutes before school starts and ask the group of music kids hanging with friends “Hey, can you guys help me put the room back together after our concert last night?”  They all jump up immediately and run to the door to see who can put the first chair and stand where they are supposed to go.  How did I get so lucky?  Will I ever have such wonderful, hard working, fun, and helpful students ever again?

Though I have applied to several school districts and even interviewed with one, I will not have a job by the time this school year ends.  I’ve been telling people for months “It’s so early for teacher hiring.  School districts hire all the way through August.  If I don’t have a job by August, then I’ll panic.”  Which is all true.  Except for the fact that I am panicked now.  I would have loved to say at the end of the year concerts “Don’t worry about me guys!  I have this great new job lined up!  It won’t be the same without you guys, but I will be okay.”  Because I have eleven year olds who ask me every day “Have you found a new job yet, Mrs. Butler?”  And I daily smile at them and say “Not yet, guys!  But I’m looking – I’m sure I’ll find something!’  And every day I find it harder to smile and say that line.

I really do believe it will eventually all work out, just for now, the impending oblivion is blinding.  I pour so much into my job that the thought that I wouldn’t have a program to give so much of myself to is staggering to me.  But I really do have at least two-three more months left before true despair will set in.  And as soon as I have a real job offer that I accept and it is official – I will share it here.

But for the next week – the last week I have with these wonderful kids -I will be immersed in goodbyes.  I will not enjoy them.  But they are important.  And I’ll do everything I can to make sure these kids feel loved while I still can.

One Response to “Saying Goodbye”
  1. Aggie Mowry says:

    Oooohhh my girl your post makes me cry. You are the real thing. You said it so well in that last line: You may not enjoy the goodbyes, but they are important. And doing everything you can to make sure they feel loved while you still can, is so true. You are amazing. Love you so much.

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