Today I told my favorite 2nd grade (8th grade US, for those playing along at home) class that I didn't get to teach them anymore (my schedule is strange, so I only teach the high level 2nd grade classes for 2 months, then 2 months with the lower level students). A few of my students were genuinely upset by this...
Now I'm sad.
It's weird, because I'm on the tail end (hopefully) of an unpleasant and stressful few weeks of work, and I've spent more than a few hours fantasizing about getting out of here... but at just a few words from a few students who crowded around me after our last class together ended-and the stricken looks on their faces when I told them I wouldn't be here next year-I'm actually regretting that I didn't renew my contract.
It's such a stunning about-face that I might have mental whiplash.
I have a wide variety of reasons for not renewing, both personal and professional, and I know that all of those reasons are still just as valid as they were yesterday. It's just... this is the first time I've made the connection between myself and the teachers I had in middle school: the good ones, the terrible ones, and the one who changed my life. It's strange to look at them as an adult and as a teacher (albeit one with much less training), and it's even stranger to look at myself (now, as a teacher) through my 15-year-old self's eyes.
Heck, it's weird to really think of myself as a teacher here, because my role at this school often feels like "bad joke/babysitter/waste of time/proofreader".
Okay, I went on a helluva tangent, but the POINT is: my students gave me a gift today, without even realizing it. I might be a minimally-trained, mildly frustrated, continuously nervous sort-of-English-teacher, but they reminded me that even if my presence here isn't helping them ace their tests or get into high schools, they're still learning things from me. And I get to be a part of their growing-up stories, which is pretty frickin' cool, all things considered.
Moral of the story: I have some awesome students, one of whom is apparently going to visit me in America (Not likely, but I would certainly let her).