Monday, March 01, 2010

Learning . . . And Moving On

At the end of the school year, as most of her students finished up grade four and mentally prepared themselves to enter the fifth grade in the fall, the keen and ambitious young teacher lost her job with the school at which she had been working. They were cutting a class at that location and she was declared "surplus".

Thankfully, she interviewed for a teaching position at another school and was hired immediately. She was to start in the fall. Little did she realize at the time of the interview that she would be "knocked up" by the time she would start her new job. As she opened the doors to her new classroom in September, she was already three months pregnant.

The teacher enjoyed her new school, met some wonderful colleagues, and encountered some special students who touched her heart. But things were never quite the same as they had been with her "first class".

The pregnant teacher gave birth to a bouncing baby boy in March. He was all she had dreamed of and more.

The following year, while she was still on leave from teaching, her original school contacted her and invited her to attend the graduation ceremony for that year's grade six students. They would be leaving their elementary school and attending middle school in the fall. The grade six students, were, of course, her now-older grade four class.

Unable to secure babysitting, the teacher dragged along her one-year-old little boy to the ceremony with her. As she neared the school's front door on that hot, sweltering June day, she felt the familiar queasiness of butterflies in her stomach that she had felt almost three years previous when she had entered the school for the very first time. Only on this occasion, instead of being nervous, she was excited. Full of anticipation and joy at seeing her students older and possibly more mature.

The teacher fielded the question her former colleagues directed at her upon seeing another gaping bulge in her midsection.

"Yes," she confirmed. "I am pregnant, *again*."

She was more than pleased that all her old students recognized her, and were thrilled to see her and her little boy. She was filled with joy and pride watching all her students walk across the stage. As they stepped down with their grade six certificate in hand, she felt this moment symbolized so much for many of them - success, perseverance, faith, hope, commitment. With the right tools and the right support, these kids could do anything they wanted.

The students, parents, and teachers mingled after the ceremony as refreshments and snacks were served. The new mother stood at the back, absorbing the scene around her and taking it all in. Just as she began to fear that she may have to leave the school with her hot and now very cranky toddler, a group moved towards her.

It was a man and a woman, and three very tall children. The woman, grinning from ear to ear, lunged forward to give the teacher a hug. Although no introductions were needed - the teacher had immediately recognized them - the woman asked the teacher a question.

"Do you remember us?" she inquired, in impeccable English. "I am Belle's mother."

"Of course I do," the teacher told her. "Your English sounds perfect now."

"I took some classes," Belle's mother informed her, "and I have a job now." She oozed with pride.

The teacher almost didn't recognize Belle, for it seemed as if she had grown about a foot and was now completely stunning. The young student smiled and shyly said hello to her former teacher.

Belle's mother went on to thank the teacher for all she had done for Belle and her family that year.

"You made a huge difference for Belle, and without you that year would have been much more difficult for her," she said. "I wish there was some way we could thank you."

As the two mothers continued chatting, talking about Belle, talking about the teacher's son, talking about life, the weather, politics, and the economy, the teacher hoped that Belle's mother might understand that it was actually she who wished she could thank them.

10 comments:

Amber said...

Aw. This series is really bringing on the waterworks, but in the best possible way. Sniff!

Jenny said...

I totally love reading all your experiences! I can only imagine how rewarding teaching feels!

Christine said...

Amazing how life's lessons come at us in unexpected ways. You have done such a great job telling us this story. I'm insipired by it. You are going to do great when you go back!

JustJenn said...

I thought it was done! But I'm glad it wasn't!

Kami's Khlopchyk said...

Shannon, I just read this whole series and I wiping tears. Not only is this expience you write about amazing, but so is the way you write about it. Such passion!

Each and every one of those students was blessed to have you as their teacher!

Capital Mom said...

You made me cry. Again. Damn you.

Anti-Supermom said...

What a beautiful ending to such a beautiful story, you told it so well, Shannon!

coffeewithjulie said...

I am loving this series. Thanks so much.

Finola said...

I love it too! Those students will remember you forever.

BeachMama said...

How wonderful that you had such an impact on not only Belle, but her whole family. Seriously, teach my son.

 
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