Yesterday was the last day of school for the students. The remainder of this week is to be devoted to teacher workshops and packing, allowing us to get the massive task of moving half the building and finishing up the end-of-year paperwork in relative peace. Not having the kids around certainly makes for a less stressful atmosphere, but I still woke up this morning with a sick feeling in my stomach.
As half the staff prepares to move out of the building and longstanding working relationships are severed, there is a great deal of emotional baggage being scattered around the hallways along with the boxes. That, I can avoid since I'm fairly good at navigating rough terrain when I need to, but there was one piece of the Middle School Long Goodbye I was going to have to face. I've been avoiding it for weeks. I've put off dealing with it. But there really wasn't any time left for that, I realized as the alarm blatted away at me this morning. I had to come to terms with it.
Today was The Cheerful Teaching Assistant's last day.
We've been separated once before. It happened a few years ago and was a circumstantial thing, something over which we had no control. This time, however, it was very much by design. It came out of a great deal of consideration and painful decision making.
We had two choices before us. The CTA could carry on as my awesome teacher's assistant as she has for many years now. She is held in high regard by all and would be a welcome member of the new staff dynamic. On the other hand, she could take the position at the high school where, hopefully, a few more doors might open up for her and that shiny new teaching certificate she recently earned can be put to use.
The first option would be great for me. The latter would be better for her and, ultimately, the students she will someday have in her English classes. It was really a no-brainer when all was said and done.
The CTA and I have worked together a long time. We know each other well. We enjoy the same sense of humor and have shared more than a few belly laughs over the things kids say. We even got in the habit of jotting them down as the years went by so we wouldn't forget. She also knows that I am not one for big, mushy displays so we kept our farewell scene to the absolute minimum. It's best to remember the good times and be grateful for having had someone of a similar mind set with which to share them.
She also knew that the more appropriate way to give me a card that might cause me to make all kinds of wet, blubbery, snuffing sounds would be to slip it into my bag where I'd find it later rather than give it to me right in the middle of the classroom. It is best we not discuss that lest I dribble all over my keyboard. But we can spend some time sharing the little book of student quotes she put together for me. Some of them are sort of situational and probably wouldn't make a lick of sense to you, but others can certainly stand alone. In fact, they make for perfect bullet post fodder.
So, tonight's WNBP comes to you straight from the Cheerful Teaching Assistant and several years worth of student commentary. And maybe a few from good old Ms. Sheep as well...
*"Muscles jiggle anyway. Haven't you ever seen a bear run?"
*"It's not gory. It's just the fast paced cutting off of limbs."
*(From Ms. Sheep, after a day where it seemed that everyone was dumping on her) "There is a chain of poop. Not everyone can poop on me. I have to have someone to poop on, too! POOP IS A CHAIN!"
*"These are better than girls! I'd give up girls for these cookies."
*(Older student to Younger Student) Be gone annoying child. Hello nothing in that chair."
*(Student singing about the gigantic bag he carries to school) "I like big bags and I cannot lie!"
*"We used to be able to just make paper mache ducks and now we have to plan for the future!!"
"I can run a 10 minute jog in 5 minutes!!!"
*"Do you think I can be in a men's shampoo commercial? (hair flip) ELEGANCE! (hair flip) MANLINESS...what? I have manly hair!
*(Said to Ms. Sheep after she groaned loudly in frustration) "I didn't know you spoke whale!"
*"Um...I'm stuck in a box. Help. Please."
*"I'm gonna start my own school and it's gonna have blackjack and field trips and chicken pot pie!"
*"My mother's a Scorpio and my grandmother's an Aries. So you can see how that worked out."
*"I think there's a little Japanese man inside of all of us..."
*(Said by Ms. Sheep) "Don't tie yourself up anymore, please."
*"I know she smells better than Mrs. X and Mrs. X smells like the finest bathroom spray in all of Britain!"
*"I don't carry this big black cloud over me all the time. I'm a victim of circumstance."
*"Usually you listen to my stories, nod your head, praise what I do and I feel happy."
*"I swear to God I feel like I have no pants on today."
Good stuff. And it doesn't even include the "inside jokes" that wouldn't really make sense unless you were there. Maybe even if you were there...
These are the things that make me chuckle and that is a nice thing to be able to do when emotional goodbyes have overshadowed the day. It is nice to say that you worked with someone who understood the importance of laughter in a tough working situation. It is even better to have a few inside jokes to keep things light when the going gets tough. Maybe no one else will fully appreciate my final words to the CTA, the ones I shouted through the raindrops and across the puddly parking lot, but it cracked us up pretty good.
"I will be your cupcake monkey!!!"
The Story of the Sweatshop
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