I went to see my old fifth graders, now big ole sixth graders at the middle school today. I was really worried about whether or not any of them would actually remember me or be excited about me being there.
I was totally wrong.
They literally swamped me when I walked into the gym because, unbeknownst to me, the entire sixth grade was sitting on the bleachers waiting for announcements about their related arts. I sort of messed that whole situation up, since the majority of the occupants of the bleachers rose en masse and clumped around me. It was terrifying and overjoying (is that a word?) at the same time. I stuck around to see the sixth grade band and listen to their band director (a former instructor of ours and now a dear dear friend) give a great come-to-Jesus talk about how sports will only get you so far, but band and the knowledge/love of music will stay with you forever. We’ve missed him a lot, and as weird as it sounds, I’m really proud of him as he has grown up into a great band director. I still can’t believe that I’m two years older than he was the first time he met us. Crazy!
So I joined both sixth grade lunches, and it was beautiful. I cannot believe how much they have grown in just a year! I didn’t even recognize one of my girls at first. She has absolutely turned into a young woman! My boys are all starting to get wide shoulders and I even heard a deeper voice or two. SO CREEPY. You guys are NOT allowed to grow up! I know what it’s like out here!
One of my precious girls gave me a pumpkin spice candle (ahhh!!!) and a card. I’m so glad I read it surrounded by a bazillion kids in a lunchroom because if we had been alone, I would have bawled my eyes out. She told me what a great influence I was and how much she missed me. I was floored. To think that I, a harassed and harried student teacher whom they only for a few short months, made that kind of an impact. I know there’s not a day that goes by when I do not think about those kids. I’ve wrote about it before. But to think that they miss me! That they still think about me! I can’t even put into words how encouraging and special that is to me.
I’ve been really discouraged this year because of not teaching in Kentucky. Sometimes it was really hard to get up and go to work at the daycare, but then I would remember that I have a teaching license. That God called me into this and gave me a heart for ministering to elementary students. If I made this incredible and meaningful of a connection with these awesome kids, it would be enough to have gone through all that work. But I know that God gave me all this education and intelligence for something, and He will find me a teaching job so that I can keep on doing this!
I am just so proud of these kids. It’s like my heart is overwhelmed with how much I still love them! When I had them last year, I could see a little glimpse of what kind of person they were becoming. Seeing them today gave me another, bigger look at these amazing people they are becoming. Yeah, sure, some are taking longer, harder, dumber roads than others, but I have so much faith in them and I know they are going to do great things. Pray for my kids!