Saturday, June 10, 2006


Yesterday I told my students I would not be returning to teach at our school next year. I told them I was very sad and that I would miss them. Two of my students were crying, three or four didn't seem to be taking in the conversation at all, and the remaining students were automatically angry. One student kept repeating, "I knew you were gonna say that, I knew it." They were all talking at the same time, throwing questions at me, repeating, "You mean you're never coming back?"

We were maybe five minutes into the conversation, and I was nervous because the tension in the room was getting to be too much. Then, one student asked, "Are you still teaching special ed?"

"Yes," I said, a little thrown off by the question. "I'll be teaching sixth grade at a school closer to home. The school is different, but my students will be a lot like you."

Suddenly, the room was calm. I was shocked by the change, and realized that only after hearing I was still teaching special ed could my students believe that I was not abandoning them, that they had not driven me away. And even though I was prepared to explain to them that I was not abandoning them, I had no idea what the key to making them believe that was. I've never been so thankful for a student's question before.

1 comment:

CaliforniaTeacherGuy said...

Special kids need to know that their teachers are committed to them--or to others like them. I'll be starting an RSP position in a middle school this fall, and I'm so much looking forward to forging bonds as strong with my students as you obviously forged with yours. Best wishes as you begin a new year at your new school!