Sunday, June 16, 2013

Don't Forget Me

Teaching you see a lot of faces come and go.  I wish I could say I remember all my kids, but I don't.  Students stick to you by varying degrees, just like you have middle school teachers you can remember, and those you can't.

A fifth grade girl I taught this year will stick.  Sweet and quiet, we shared an interest in the Walking Dead.  She gave a Walking Dead dog tag even.  It hangs from my rear view mirror.

She had a very kind heart, and always brought snacks to share with the class.  But she had every kind of food allergy available it seemed, and couldn't eat many of the same treats she brought.

Once she brought the entire class Jolly Ranchers, but to me she gave a pepperoni stick.  Yum.  But then, about halfway through class she came up to me and said, "I can't eat the Jolly Ranchers, can I have the pepperoni stick back?"  Then I sent her to detention.  Not really, I gave her the stick back.

But what she did last will stick with me.  Her family is moving away this summer.  She made a note for everyone in her class and her teachers that says:

When she handed it to me she said, "don't forget me."  Most kids her age are uncomplicated and genuine, but she especially so.  Emotion was laid bare is powerful, and in this case, touching.  She didn't try to hide it, or laugh it off.  She was sad that she was leaving, and she didn't want the people that she cared about to forget her.  She wants to know that she mattered, and her time spent here mattered.

I can't say how many times I've felt the same at a goodbye.  I comfort myself by rationalizing that if I wasn't sad about leaving, it wasn't worth my time.  My head understands that but my heart doesn't.  Change is the only constant, and on some level I think that is intrinsically sad.

There have been moments in my life, that I wish could last forever.  But they can't.  And I won't forget her.

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