I hate missing days at school. I rarely call out. Sure, there is a random day I need to be home with one of my kids when they are sick, but I prefer to be in my classroom working with my students on a daily basis. I refuse to take vacations during the school year. In my opinion, vacations are to be taken when we have breaks in the calendar.
Twitter has helped me avoid leaving school for even Professional Development days or workshops. I try to convince my administration that I can get the same learning from participating in the numerous chats at night instead of missing a day of school. Actually, I find them a thousand times more informative than anything I have attended during school hours.
But, last week, I broke my own rule: I called out Thursday and Friday. The last two days of school.
See, my Grandfather died a week ago today. (Here is a link to his Eulogy that I wrote) We knew it was coming since he was diagnosed with Stage 4 Cancer about six weeks ago. This did not make it easier to handle, however. I still attended our Dinner/Dance last week. This is a great event where our Eighth Graders get dressed up and have a great buffet dinner at a local catering hall. We have been holding this tradition for the last twelve years, and I am hopeful it is able to continue.
I was able to guide our students through Graduation practices and the actual ceremony last week as well. The Graduation Ceremony went off without a hitch. The graduates looked great in their blue and yellow gowns. We had several speakers and handed out special awards. There were smiles (and tears) all around.
Why am I feeling guilty? I missed saying goodbye to my students. I missed seeing them walk out our doors for the last time. I missed signing yearbooks and shaking their hands. I missed the pictures and the tears that usually accompany them. I would have loved to be there with them during their last couple of days, but I just could not do it. I tried talking myself into attending those days, but to no avail.
I hope they understand why I was not there. I hope they enjoyed their last couple of days. I would have given anything to be there with them, but I just could not go through with it. I wish them all the luck in the world. I hope they have a great high school career. I hope they remember what we taught them while they were with us. But, more importantly, I hope they hold onto the great memories they gathered over the years at our school. Best of luck, Class of 2014...