School has been out a week. Freedom has never tasted so sweet. I know I’m more productive in the mornings but sleeping in to 6:45 is wonderful. I get to make a real breakfast and have coffee out on the balcony. The kitchen is clean and I can choose to go outside my apartment without makeup. If I wear little to no eye makeup to school, I never hear the end of it from my students.
“Ms. Schoon, why do you look so tired?”
“Ms. Schoon, you need some mascara.”
“Ms. Schoon, you look like you just rolled out of bed.”
Oh, wait. They’re not my students anymore. Remember that part where my position got cut and then I chose to be a missionary on the other side of the world? I suppose, in a way, they’ll always be mine. And I know the strangeness of my situation will hit me more fully in the fall when I’m not prepping to go back. I’m not one to linger on what’s past but teaching has become a huge part of me. I’ll be teaching and learning all the time in Japan but in a completely different way than my crazy, messy, loud art room here in Texas.
One of my teachers had her students write me good-bye cards on the last day of school. They’re pretty amazing with the drawings and notes inside. I’ll admit that my favorite is the one where I’m praying with a red paper lantern/hat on my head. Even though I’m a bit of a grammar freak in the classroom, even the art classroom, and the spelling is generally horrendous, I don’t even care because they are that sweet.
I don’t miss a lot of things about school. But I already miss the “Ms. Schoon’s” coming from every corner of the room. Walking into the cafeteria was being accosted by tons of pint-sized fans with sticky fingers, waving and shouting my name. I’ll miss the way the faces of my little kinders would light up when I walked past them in the hall and we’d waved and smile. Because even though I’m not in their daily lives, they still love me and I’m so humbled by that. Kids I only see 50 minutes a week love coming to my class, even when I lose my patience, even when I feel terrible and my teaching is completely off. They often don’t remember my mistakes by the next class a week later. They just smile and hug me like we hadn’t seen each other in forever. When I really think about it, I don’t deserved to be loved like that. And it’s through my students that I begin to understand what it means to have faith like a child.