(thanks to Jennifer's blog, where I watched this video today)
One of the best little kids that's come thru my public school teaching experience just found out he was being transferred to a different school. It came up right when I sat down next to Emily. She turned to me and said, "My cousin is being transferred to a different school", while her arm was outstretched, pointing towards Edward. But I'd known these kids for two years. We had them during last year's residency, when they were just wee kindergartners. And now, they're big old first graders. And they remembered us so well from last year. It was my first real experience in 'returning'. So, there Edward sat, across the circle from us, totally unaware that Emily was opening Pandora's box. Taylor overheard our conversation, or maybe he heard me screech,"Edward is your COUSIN?" As in, why didn't I know that?, either way, he overheard me and walked up to us and said, "My cousin is in jail." Cue: big, huge, brown eyes and a little bowl haircut staring down at me. The first thing that came out of my mouth (and I'm not saying it was right!) was, "Really? Do you know why?" He shrugged and said, "I don't know..maybe it's cuz she didn't show up to court yesterday." Hmmm, maybe.
After all this revealing, Edward and I make eye contact and I mouth, "You're leaving?" and he nods, so solemnly I wanted to weep.
Class begins and he's really into the story drama we're doing and we're all playing it to the hilt. He's so involved. And I'm aware, so aware, that this is a final impact moment. This could be one of those days that a person remembers, years later, when they're retelling some memory, some recall, from first grade. Damn, I hope it was good.
At the end of class, the kids lined up for recess and started making their way out. Edward was at the back of the line and I leaned over and hugged him and told him how wonderful it was having him in class and what a difference he'd made on all of us these last two years. I didn't expect it, and yet, I guess part of me expected no less, but Edward sobbed and sobbed and sobbed into my shoulder. I just kept repeating, like a mantra: you are a fantastic person, you make a difference, you are a smart, sensitive, important person. I wanted to tattoo it across his forehead: I AM IMPORTANT.
I know, kids transfer schools. It happens. They're forced to. They want to. They have to. But there was something about loosing Edward that seemed almost tragic to me.
So, I've sobbed into my own shoulder and hoped for the very best for him.