Monday, March 26, 2012
SLICE #26- THE LONG GOODBYE
I have only been at the school one year, so it's not nearly as heart wrenching for me as it is for teachers who have been there ten or fifteen years. One of the fifth grade teachers, for example, sent her own children, who are now in their thirties to our school, then she became a paraprofessional, and then went back to school to become a teacher. She has never taught anywhere else.
Even though I have only been at the school for about eight months, I have a feeling that the next seven weeks are going to be one long goodbye. Have I mentioned that I absolutely hate goodbyes?
Last Thursday, for example, Uriel and his best friend, Juan, were talking about Barbara O'Connor. Uriel had just finished THE FANTASTIC SECRET OF OWEN JESTER. He had moved on to GREETINGS FROM NOWHERE and passed OWEN JESTER along to Juan. As we were wrapping up Readers' Workshop that day, Uriel said to me, "Are you going to get Barbara O'Connor's next book?"
I responded that I was sure I would, because she is one of my favorite authors and I have bought all of her books.
Paris, who is one of the strongest readers in my class and read OWEN last fall, while I was reading HOT TO STEAL A DOG to the class, overhead the conversation, "It's the one about the pigeon, right? But it's not coming out until Fall, is it?"
"I think I read that it is coming out in October," I say.
"We won't be in fourth grade, then?" asks Juan, not quite sure of the time frame.
"No, we'll be in fifth grade," says Paris.
"In fifth grade," said Uriel. "But you won't be with us in fifth grade, right, Ms. Wilcox? You will be at the school where they speak Spanish and English. "
"That's right, Uriel," I say.
"Well then, how will we get the book? How will we get to read Barbara O'Connor's pigeon book?" says Uriel.
I have to think fast on this one. "We are a reading family," I say. "And reading families stick together. The day Barbara O'Connor's new book comes out, I will go and buy four copies. I will keep one copy to read myself. And then I will come back to visit you. I will give one copy to each of the fifth grade classrooms, so that all of us who love Barbara O'Connor will get to read her next book. You can read it and email me and tell me what you think."
The boys seem ok with this solution. They will get to read their favorite author's newest book. We will see each other. We will talk about our reading. Just like we do every day.
I'm absolutely hating all this goodbye stuff.