The conversations started today. A little sooner than I expected. And I don't think I'm quite ready.
We had just finished Session #2 of our state math test and gathered on the rug for snack and read aloud. A, one of the "math goddesses" in my class, but also one of my star worriers, asked, "So what happens if you don't pass the test? Do you have to stay in fourth grade?"
I told her that I was sure she had done fine, and that no, simply doing badly on the state math test did not mean that a person had to stay in fourth grade another year.
My kids weren't done though.
"Actually," said J. "I wouldn't mind staying in fourth grade. I'll just stay here with Ms. Wilcox."
"Hey, me too," said D.
And pretty soon the entire fourth grade had decided that we were all just going to stay in Room 121 another year. If the school wasn't closing, that would be fine with me. I adore my class.
But the conversation wasn't over yet.
"But you're not staying here," says J in a kind of a half statement/half question.
"No," I said. "Remember, we talked about that. I work for *** Big District***. Next year this school is going to belong to ***Charter School.*** You guys will go to the charter school and I will work somewhere else for ***Big District***
"But can't you just work for **** Charter School?"
"No I can't work for them, hon, I work for *** Big District***" I don't explain to the kids the financial logistics of charter schools, where I would probably make only a little more than half of what I am currently making.
We finish snack and read aloud, and the kids go to their seats to create game cards for Math Vocabulary Weirdo (stay tuned for a post- about when dorky test prep math review games become the all-time favorite, regularly requested class game!).
R circles back to talk to me. How I love this smart, still-waters-run-deep basketball dribbling mathematician. "So where will you go, anyway?"
I have kind of moved onto other things. "We go to art today babe."
"No, where will you go?"
"When?" I ask.
"Next year. Where will you go next year?"
"Oh. Next year. I don't know, sweetie. I'm still trying to figure that out."
"Well I'm going there too," he says firmly. "Maybe we can all go."
"I would love that if you could all go with me." I say. And then I have to turn around so R won't see me cry .
I am not ready for these goodbye conversations. Not yet anyway.