(I don't think Shayla will be this scared! PHOTO: March 2003, age 4, in our room at the Ronald McDonald House, just joking around)Much to my shock, Shayla told me as we drove to school yesterday that she would be starting at the new school on Monday. (That makes her last day at Seneca East this coming Friday.) Wow. That was a tough one for me, but I think it was the very best possible choice she ever could have made and I’m sooooo glad she did! I'm so proud of her!
A very, very sweet little gal from her new class called over the weekend and invited her for a play date. (How about that for amazing?! I'm still shocked.) Shayla, always up for a play date, did not receive the message because I didn't check the messages until it was well after the phone call. Much to my surprise and delight, the little one called back to chat with Shayla another day. God is good! I think that, combined with the fact I told her I didn't want her to worry about it all summer and that I felt it would be best to start sometime within the next six weeks, helped her make up her mind to start there on Monday. That will give her 5 1/2 weeks and hopefully, next August, she won't feel like "the new kid" anymore.
This morning as we drove to school I asked her if she was planning on telling people or if she wanted me to do so. She told me that she told her main teacher (Caroline) yesterday and that her teacher started to cry and then so did she.
(PIC: Fall 2002, One of my sweet, sweet students now who turned out after this photo was taken to be one of Christi's best friends and one of my sweet, sweet colleagues at a fundraser the school had for Christi's medical expenses.) Arriving at school today, I ran into Caroline early this morning and she told me how sad she was about letting Shayla go, but that she really thought it was the very best thing for her - and for all of us. "You need to turn your back and walk away from this place. We are holding you back. It's a reminder of the bad times in your life, all the reminders of Christi you have to face here everyday." I couldn't agree more, but it's going to be oh so hard when I do leave. I have a couple of students that say each day, "I'm going to be so sad when you leave." I've almost been in tears myself about it, yet when I think about my new job a little disbelieving joy enters my heart as I know I will be very, very happy at BGSU. I still cannot believe they really picked me for the job.
(Shayla with Caroline - her current 4th grade teacher, Shayne's 4th grade teacher, Christi's 4th grade teacher and one of my colleagues and with beautiful Kristen - Christi's 2nd grade teacher. They took her to a pumpkin patch one fall afternoon) Shayla's sweet teacher emailed me recently, "We've been there for each other during our most difficult times in our life. I'm going to miss the fact that you're not in the building in case I ever need you. Just knowing you are here has always been a comfort" I know I will be a mess when my last day arrives. How could I ever forget many of my sweet, sweet colleagues standing in my front yard on my birthday in 2002 singing to me, when Christi was in isolation? How could I ever forget their help and kindness on countless matters I couldn't even begin to list. I never, ever will! I've signed my new contract, notified my administration that I will be leaving so they can get my replacement and written my letter of resignation, but.......I've not yet submitted it. I’ve spent all but eight years of my life (either as a student or as a teacher) at Seneca East. This is a dream come true and something I've wanted to do for years; however, I've spent 20 years teaching and being with so many fantastic people......
Yesterday, we received incredible news! I knew Tiffin City has much tougher requirements than Seneca East does for qualifying for their gifted program (not called TAG, but called HEIGHTS). I hoped Shayla’s scores would be high enough to make it and I spent much of the weekend worrying about it. When I finally broke down on Monday and told Shayne of my concerns, knowing he wouldn’t know of the differences regarding gifted servicing requirements between schools, he said, “So are you going to tell her she was gifted one day and not the next?” Oh, I prayed and I prayed she’d qualify. Thank God she did! At the elementary school they told her their 4th grade gifted program has four kids in it that get on a bus and ride into Tiffin to another school one day a week for their gifted instruction. Except for the “bus factor” that’s the same full day, one day a week service Shayla currently receives (and LOVES). Later she asked me to drive her past the school where they meet so she could take a look at it. I then worried she wouldn’t qualify and I’d have to let her know she wasn’t going. When I received word late Tuesday night, I cried with joy. I don’t even know if she’ll like it, but I just didn’t want to have to tell her she couldn’t go since TAG day is currently her favorite day of the week. Whew! We are very lucky!
(Christi, far left, Shayla, baby in the back, at a sack race at the fairgrounds. Christi 3, Shayla 1 1/2)