For once, I'm not talking about me ;), but my students. Well, some of them. A group of my current class was in a class last year who lost their teacher about halfway through the year. I didn't realize the effect that had had on them until today.
I'm doing a site visit later this month, so I told my kids that they were going to have a sub in a couple of weeks (I've learned that it's better to prepare them for it, rather than for them to just walk in to a strange face one day, ESPECIALLY the first time of the school year...and ESPECIALLY ESPECIALLY when I've bonded with the class the way I have this year. Seriously, guys, they are just amazing). I didn't go into a lot of detail, I just told them that I'd be gone doing "teacher stuff," and that I'd be back the next day. Well, this particular group of kids flipped out.
"Are you coming back?!" they asked.
I told them that of course I was, that it was only for a day.
"That's what Mrs. F said!!" they cried. "And then she left for good!"
"Yeah!" one boy (C., who's adorable and the class "heart throb") added. "She said that whether or not she stayed depended on how good we were, and we WERE good, or we thought we were, but she left, so we must have been BAD! And now you're leaving!!"
Seriously, I felt like divorced parents must feel when they're trying to reassure their kids that it has nothing to do with them. And furthermore, what FUCKED UP teacher tells the kids that if they're good, she'll stay as their teacher but if they're bad, she'll leave--and then actually LEAVES?
So all I told them today was, "Look. Those of you who are returning students know that I've been here for many years (if "4" qualifies as "many," LOL), I'm going to STAY here, I'm honestly just leaving for the day, and I promise I'm coming back....okay?"
Everyone said "okay," and went back to work...except for C., who sighed, muttered "Yeah, we've heard that before," and picked up his pencil.
And honestly, you guys, I LOVE this class. Like, I am seriously half in love with them already. And it kills me to see how vulnerable they are. We're going to have a class meeting tomorrow AM where I reassure them again that they're stuck with me for the year...but I can't believe that someone would tell a class of NINE YEAR OLDS that kind of shit.
And even though they really didn't like her that much, I can't believe how affected by it they still are, almost a full year later.