Closure isn't always something that I get as a teacher. (I am still reeling from seven of my students missing the last day of school!) The cycle of a school year naturally lends itself to students and colleagues coming and going. This ebb and flow is necessary to create new relationships and bring in new energy within a school. Sometimes, though, these relationships are cut short. A student may decide to pursue other interests or their family may suddenly move away. It's never easy when this happens, but here are some questions I think about to cope with the frustrations and losses of these difficult situations:
What will I remember?
India Opal Buloni had the right idea asking the Preacher to help her remember all the things about her mother. Thinking of those good moments with our friends helps us remember the positive qualities about that person and the impact they had on our lives.
What's the lesson?
We can learn a lot from people, especially kids, if we're willing to listen. Understanding the lessons from our relationships can bring insight to others in the future.
How can we move forward?
There comes a time when life moves on and we have to be okay with it. We eventually have to clean up students' workspaces, put away independent reading books, and sometimes, recycle papers they may have left. We can never fully delete a person from our lives and I think Dr. Seuss said it best: "Don't cry because it's over, smile because it happened."
My students and colleagues will stay with me forever. Understanding that change is a normal part of life helps us carry on even though they may not be in our lives anymore. Just knowing that they are out there doing good in the world is enough for me.