Saturday, July 14, 2007

It's so hard to say goodbye

School is winding down for the summer and I’ve been going from classroom to classroom to say goodbye. The students will be back in September but I won’t.

So I had to give a farewell speech at the end of every class. And I burst into tears every single time. I simply couldn’t talk about leaving without crying. I was completely and utterly unable to control my emotions. I’ve fallen in love with so many of these kids and I’d just look at their faces knowing I’d never get to see them again and that was all it took for me to come undone.

Eventually, someone would say something to make me laugh. And then I’d regain my composure a bit and manage to choke my way through the speech. But then I’d look up to see the Japanese teacher crying or one of the students crying and I’d lose it all over again.

Yuki is one of the kids I’m going to miss the most. Yuki is one of my Grade 9 students and is probably the funniest kid in the whole school. His English is light years ahead of the other kids so the Japanese teacher always made him come up to the front of the class and do model readings with me. Except he would act out the dialogue in the most ridiculous manner. He’d scream out the lines. Or he’d start dancing with me. That kid made me laugh more than anyone I’ve ever met.

This is Yuki:

And this is the message he gave me after our last class:

Kyoko is another kid I’m going to miss. She came to visit me in the staff room every single day, several times a day. Kyoko made me laugh almost as much as Yuki. She’s eccentric and wacky and totally independent. She likes classical music, hates sports and thinks most kids her age are stupid and vapid. Kyoko is awesome.

Of course, I will miss the entire track team. I’ve been running with these kids all year and going to their competitions to cheer them on so I really got to know them outside the classroom. Each and every one of these kids is amazing in their own way.

And this is just the start of the goodbyes. I still have another week at school. After that, I have to say goodbye to my coworkers, my volleyball team, my supervisor, my tea ceremony teacher, my friends. The rest of July is just going to be one painful goodbye after another.

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