Saturday, June 14, 2014

Three Miracles on Friday the 13th

Today was the last day of school. It's always bittersweet, but this time more so because I'm leaving my school for two years to teach in Panama.

I'm not sure what my favorite part of the last week was.
  • A 6th grade girl giving me a thousand paper cranes strung together like a wind chime for good luck. She said it took her a month to make them all.
  • Addressing my 5th grade class as they left for the last time, "Well, you were really a pain in the butt at the start of the year, but you got..." and getting mobbed with hugs before I could finish.
  • A scrapbook my 8th graders gave me.
  • All the little talks with parents.
  • The reaction of the students at the final assembly when my principal announced I was leaving.
Our last day of school was Friday the 13th. This day has been considered unlucky ever since the King of France purged the Knights Templar monastic order on that day back in the 14th century. But yesterday, apart from being an emotional last day of school, three miracles happened.

1.)  A dead cactus came back to life.
The Lazarus Cactus
This cactus was given to me four years ago by a 5th grade boy who seemed right out of a Normal Rockwell painting (freckles, cowlick). This year when I came back to school in September, it was dead. Apparently even cacti can't survive three months without water. Intensive rescue efforts failed, and though it had perished I was unable to throw it away, sentimental guy that I am. All year it sat on my window sill, a testament to my forgetfulness, and a reminder that even the hardiest creatures are mortal.

Then yesterday, as I got ready to finally throw it away, I noticed something. It had sprouted. From death, new life.

2.)  I saw the girl who wrote me this note again.
This girl knew she was moving to Nevada at the end of last year, and was very sad at the thought of leaving her friends and even teachers. When she gave me this note, the simple uncomplicated emotion behind it struck me as one of the things that makes working with kids so great.

Well, surprise surprise, who did I see at the school picnic yesterday? This girl. A little older, but the same sweet kid who still loves the Walking Dead. She said she missed her old school very much. I'm glad her note was wrong.

3.)  The sun came out at just the right time.

This one is a stretch, but I needed three miracles. A rainy day suddenly turned to sunshine right as the end of year school picnic started.

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