As I left the conference room to head out to my car wheeling my big teacher cart full of binders and supply tubs and teacher guides, I almost bounced towards the door. After a meeting like that, I was feeling pretty light on my feet. And then I was engulfed by one of my favorite sounds in the world. The noisy background sounds of a cafeteria at lunch time full of students. And at this school, they aren't just any students, a lot of them are my students. My little kindergarteners turned second, third, fourth, fifth, and sixth graders.
I can't even make it all the way down the hallway before I have students shouting my name, "Mrs. V! Mrs. V!" and running to give me a big hug. I smile my giant smile and wish I could stop and spend all day with them. I miss them so so much. They have gotten so big! I stop at each table greeting as many students as I can by name. I wish I had more inspiring things to say to them. I wish I had some catchy phrase that they would never forget. Something to inspire them to go to college or to follow their dreams. But, for now, I don't have that phrase. I make small talk. I ask what their favorite thing has been so far today. I ask how their parents and siblings are. I hug them. I smile at them. I hope that maybe, just maybe, some day they will look back on their interactions with me and even if they don't remember what I said, they will remember how I made them feel. I hope they feel important because in my heart and mind, they are more than important. They are my kiddos. They mean the world to me. When they were in my class and always. I feel so lucky to get to watch them grow up. I miss them when they move away. I get excited when they move back! Today as I floated out of the cafeteria to my car, nothing could take away my smile and my joy, not even a challenging staff development session at another school right afterwards.