On Friday afternoon, I read my students Peter H. Reynolds’ book The North Star, which is about a boy who sets out on a journey. We started the year with Ish, so I thought it would be appropriate to share some news with them using the always soothing words that Reynolds’ books contain. We talked about journeys and the paths people take in life. Often, the book and I both explained, our paths take us in directions we never thought we’d go in, but the appreciating the journey and being open to change is always a good thing.
Then, I brought the kids over the meeting area, which was set up with juice boxes, a variety of Hershey’s Chocolate, and maps that highlighted a route from Providence, RI to Hershey, PA. I let them turn and talk with their partners about what all of these things could have to do with one another. The answers ranged from “It’s where the chocolate comes from” to “Maybe it’s somewhere you’re taking a trip to.” Finally, I shared my news with my students. I said, “This is going to be my last year teaching fourth grade at this school. In July, my husband and I are moving to Pennsylvania where the chocolate you have in front of you comes from.” There was quite a bit of shock in the room. For every piece of chocolate a child had in front of them, I allowed them to ask a question or make a comment. (We were there for awhile since 16 kids were present and they each had five pieces of chocolate.)
It’s hard to say good-bye to our students at the end of a school year… it’s even harder when you’re moving away and aren’t sure if and when you’ll be back. This is the second time in two years that I’ve had to say good-bye to a class of kids. It was just as hard the second time around, though The North Star and the chocolate made it slightly easier to do.
I’ll answer some of the questions my students asked me in this forum, in case you’re wondering the same thing:
Q. Are you happy about moving?
A. Yes, though I never thought I’d be moving to Pennsylvania. In fact, I never thought I’d leave New York City to move to Rhode Island (until I did).
Q. What are you going to do next year?
A. I’m going to use my degree and certification as a Literacy Specialist to consult in schools.
Q. Are you only going to teach teachers how to teach writing?
A. Nope! I’m going to do Reading and Writing Workshop Consulting. Plus, I want to work with kids too since I love being in the classroom!
Q. What else are you going to do?
A. I’m going to continue writing. I have a few projects in the hopper.
Q. Will you be closer to your family?
A. Yes. That makes me very happy.
Q. Do you think it’ll be hard to make friends?
A. Maybe at first. However, I’ve been out there a few times and have found the people to be extremely friendly.
Q. Will you send us chocolate?
A. Of course! I’m moving to the Sweetest Place on Earth!
Q. Would you move to New Zealand for your husband?
Those are the highlights. I’m sure some of them you weren’t really wondering the answer to, but some of the questions were precious, so I had to include them!
Sometime this summer, watch for a new TWT Banner that will reflect a new tagline: “Teaching Kids. Catching Minds. 565 Miles Apart.”