Last Friday, I had to say goodbye to the kids that I have been teaching for the past year and a half. I didn't know it would be so difficult. Here's what I planned to say and what happened. The day before, another teacher shared with me that when he had to share something personal and painful, he turned it around to make it a lesson learned for the kids. I tried to do the same, or so I hoped.
What I Planned to Say
Hi Everyone, I have a special message for you. Have you ever had to move away? Or have you ever had a friend who moved away? I did. I thought I would never have a friend again, but then I made new friends.
Well, today I came to tell you that I got a new job. I won't be your art teacher anymore. When I was little, I wanted to be an artist. My family said that it's tough to find jobs as an artist. And they were right. So when there is an opportunity for a job, I took it. It is tough to say goodbye to you. I have enjoyed teaching you and am so proud of the art projects that you have done this year. Sometimes it's hard to do hard things, but you do it anyway because it makes you a better artist/person.
"Hi Everyone, I got a new job. I won't be your art teacher anymore." I started to tear up, and a few of the kids began to cry as well. First grade was inconsolable. I had to do this eight times because there were eight classes. I felt like a big jerk, going into each classroom and make kids cry. My colleagues tried to comfort me by saying that it meant you made an impact. I wish there were a more natural way to say goodbye. It was bittersweet because some kids didn't understand. They thought they would see me again next week, so they just said, "see you later!"