Tuesday, December 04, 2012


I'll just say it point blank – goodbyes hurts.

I love people, I really do. I love talking with people and learning about their lives. I love the uniqueness that each person has. I love the laughter that comes from conversation. I love the little things about people that make them who they are – whether that be mannerisms, interests, or attitudes – everyone has something that makes them different. And figuring that out is wonderful.

Nine weeks ago, I was welcomed into a 5th grade classroom. There were 23 (soon to be 25) fifth grade faces staring at me as I tried to act confident. I was shaking like a leaf as I wondered how I would ever fit in or learn all their names!

As the weeks wore on, I fell in love. I fell in love with waking up at 5:45am every Tuesday and Thursday and going into that 5th grade classroom to see my wonderful kids. I loved that as the weeks wore on I no longer felt like a newcomer, but I felt like part of their community. I loved learning their names. I loved sitting with them at lunch and learning more about who they were.

When Thursday came last week, I knew that I would only have one more day left with my 5th graders. I tried not to think about it, but as I was stopped coming out of the lunchroom by several of my kids telling me funny stories or chatting about what was happening in their family, I knew it would be hard to leave them.

This morning I got up and cherished every moment I was in school with them. Around 9:30, my teacher told the class that we were having a goodbye party for me - Ms. Turnbull. I gave them all gifts, and I got so many hugs. I held back the tears, but just barely.

I don't know if these 5th graders will ever know how much they meant to me. I hope they know that I will treasure them and the gifts they gave me. One boy gave me a drawing that he had made. He is an amazing artist and I told him I would treasure it. I also told him that when he becomes a world-renown artist to let me know because I want to buy some of his artwork. Another boy has, since the first day I met him, carried around a self-made origami star. I've watched him play with it while listening to lessons. I've seen him pull it out to look at and touch no matter how dirty his hands are. And I've watched him, on more than one occasion, gnaw on it while concentrating. And today when he took it out and wrote "bye-bye" on it and handed it to me, I just about cried. That was something so close to him and he gave it to me. No matter how nasty that star may look to others, I will treasure that little star forever.

I had one boy tell me at lunch that when he grows up he will be a spaghetti chef. I told him I loved spaghetti and he told me that when he has his restaurant he will let me eat there for free whenever I want. (I told him that I would take him up on that offer!) I had several girls hugging me at the end of the day. They wouldn't let go and told me that they would hold on to me so that I would come back. One girl kept asking why I had to leave and why I couldn't stay. And I couldn't answer because I knew that if I started to, I would probably just cry.

I said goodbye to my fifth graders. I hugged my teacher, who has been an incredible role model for me, and I left. I walked away from my 25 fifth graders and wonderful cooperating teacher, and yes, I teared up.

It's hard to say goodbye. It's hard to say goodbye to people who I know and love. I know the students who need extra help reading. I know the one girl who thinks it's hilarious to call me Ms. Her. I know that one student loves Alabama like nothing else. (I watched the Alabama vs. Georgia game on Saturday just so that I would know what he would tell me on Tuesday.) I know the students who will tell me all about their weekend. I know the student who wants to talk about his family. I know the student who understands sarcasm and will make me laugh. I know the students who love to be called on, but are too shy to raise their hands. I know these students and I love them all.

Leaving today was hard. Goodbyes are hard.

I'm thankful for the blessing this school and this class has been to me. I have learned so much from each student and especially from my cooperating teacher. I'm thankful that God let me be with this class. And even though goodbyes are hard, I'm thankful that God brings new people into my life that I can meet and love.

This experience has been wonderful and the sadness of goodbyes will never match the joy that I have had while being with the fifth grade. I can only thank God for all that He has blessed me with through this placement in fifth grade. 

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