Closing the classroom door

It’s June 17th today and I am writing this blog post now because I know that in less than two weeks when the last day of school comes, I will be such a basket case that I won’t be able to write coherently.  There are a few things I would like to say to turn the page and close an amazing chapter of my life.

Because I need to be closer to home (to my young children), I have taken a new position in a wonderful little school.  I am looking forward to new challenges.  Sadly, it means that I will also have to say goodbye to my Bear Creek family.

It was a very difficult decision to move because I dearly love my school, the kids and their families.  There is another family at Bear Creek that I love too.  If the heart of the school is my students, the soul of the school is and always will be, my colleagues.  My time at the ‘Creek has been a coming of age for us…a golden decade if you will.  We got married together, had our babies together, nursed broken hearts, broken relationships and hopes for future, nurtured dreams, shared our darkest moments and our greatest triumphs.

We are kindred hearts, bound together as inner city school teachers-a place and a profession that can take so much from you if you let it, but it can give you so much if you take the time to understand. We are friends held together by moments of despair and moments of profound joy.  Moments when you wonder if there will ever be enough of you to go around, moments when you just want to run down the hall whooping for joy celebrating a student’s success.  Those moments are now cherished memories because they were shared with some of the most amazing, dedicated, hardworking, compassionate people I have had the honor to work with.

I will hold dear the deep friendships forged by sad stories of students who we couldn’t save, by stories of the students that we did, who come back and tell us how well they are doing…and I will miss those success moments most.  I wish I had started blogging earlier in my career to capture all of those memories.  I am very grateful to those who have encouraged me to blog and document what my amazing students do every day.

This last year for me has been a year of lessons for me.  I have enjoyed renewed energy for teaching, new ways of being a teacher and a learner, new connections and new friends.  I have grown so much professionally, had the highest of highs and the lowest of lows.  I’ve been inspired and challenged and also deeply hurt.  Had way more questions than I will ever find answers for.  And had the confidence in who I am shaken to the core.  I now know that there are times in life that you may lose your footing, but it is those who know you best who will bring you back to who you are, and will help put you back together when you can’t do it all on your own.

I will soon say farewell to cherished colleagues, to dear friends.  Farewell to the luxury of seeing them so regularly that I have taken it very much for granted.  We know each other so well that with one look we can read each other’s hearts and know just what to say.  I will miss that kinship.

So as I turn off the lights and close the door to my classroom one last time, know that I will hold all of these memories in my heart and will never forget the many ways Bear Creek has played a role in shaping who I am today.  Thank you for all the ways you have made me a better teacher by giving me the lessons of resilience shown by my students every day.  I have learned to savour and celebrate the small victories, the quiet moments of sitting at my desk on a Friday afternoon when all the kids have gone home, reflecting on another week and dreaming for the future.

I will walk down that hall with gratitude in my heart and memories to last a lifetime.  I know that one day when my own children are grown and don’t need me to be quite so close at hand, I will return to inner city teaching and try to give back in whatever way I can, some of the beauty it has given me.

And even though my heart is breaking, and the tears are running down my cheeks as I write, this blog post isn’t meant to be sad.  Because the thing about scar tissue that forms from a broken heart-vivid and raised as it may be-it’s strong.

So after the summer has passed and a new September comes again, I will begin again with a bigger, stronger heart than I had before, and I will be ready to take on the next chapter in my career.  But for now, it’s time to rest.  So with that, it’s time to say my favourite border collie sheep herding expression… “that’ll do.”

Wishing everyone a wonderful summer break.


Closing the classroom door — 2 Comments

  1. This is such a beautiful post, Diana. I read it on Friday morning, but couldn’t respond. I have composed myself now and am ready to reply. 😉

    You are such an amazing educator. The students, their parents, and the staff have all benefited from your being at Bear Creek. Even though I have only been at the ‘Creek for 2 years (seems like so much longer) and we only worked together for 1 1/2 of those years, I feel so fortunate to have had the opportunity to work with you, get to know you, and call you my friend. Thank you for the inspiration, the chats, the reflections, the challenges, the questions, the high-fives, and the tears.

    It is important, though, for you to be nearer to home. It will be a decision that you will not regret at all. It will be a special time to be closer to home. As you said, you can always go back to teaching in inner-city schools in the years to come. In the meantime, your priorities need to be solidly focused on your family. In turn, that will make you an even better educator and colleague. You have a great deal to offer in any school you move to – regardless of socio-economic status. Each school population has its own challenges, needs, and success stories.

    You are going to have a great time at your new school. Just wait and see.

    I can’t wait to connect our schools together next year!


  2. It was an emotional departure, that’s for sure. Being a part of a family so long and knowing how many people you’ve touched makes it especially hard. You have grown & transformed the thinking at Bear Creek – you have left a mark that will last forever. I am excited to be starting a new chapter with you at Bayridge, but also sad I won’t have the opportunity to see you two classrooms down at BC. Hold your head up – you have accomplished so much & have a crowd of supporters that are cheering you on. ♥

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