As much as I love hearts, romance, and Valentine's Day, it's easy to see how my first Valentine's Day as a retired teacher is going to be a challenge. For 30 years as an elementary teacher, I could count on dozens of Valentine cards, little trinkets, sweet notes, and heart-shaped cookies. By the end of the day, I always needed a box to cart home my treasures.
This year is so different. Every holiday that has passed by since I retired, I miss my school kids. Don't get me wrong; I'm not ready to un-retire, and head back to the district office with job application in hand. I just miss my kids.
Last year was so unique; so, so special. I knew I wouldn't have to remind the kids to include EVERYBODY, not just their best friends, when they wrote out their Valentine's cards. I knew I could count on them to help our special needs students to deliver their cards. I knew it would be a fun day, and that everyone would feel like they belonged. These kids "got it" like no class before them. They understood that we were a family, and we had to watch out for each other.
Just like every Valentine's Day before, I know they selected their cards carefully for classmates, making sure that their crushes received the cards with that little special something, and that their best friends would have the cards that were their favorites, and that there were no hidden meanings for casual friends.
Early in my teaching career, I learned what happened if I allowed Valentines to be delivered before the party. The kids were sneaking candy ALL. DAY. LONG. They were peeking in their large white heart-embellished envelopes attached to the front of their desks ALL. DAY. LONG. So last year, I made certain we waited until after lunch to pass out Valentines. The kids were great.
I remember specifically that Ethan made sure Adam had help getting his Valentines done. Adam has a photographic memory, and knows our class list alphabetically, so that wasn't too hard. Ethan just made sure all of the cards were delivered to the right envelopes as Adam addressed his cards.
Fifth graders don't need a bunch of games to entertain them. These kids loved to socialize, and just hang out together. Once the cards were delivered, and everyone had their mouths happily stuffed with candy, our party took on a life of its own. The kids played music from my iMac through my speaker system, and the dancing began. They had a ball. No one HAD to dance, but everyone who wanted to dance was welcome to join in the fun. No partner dancing, of course, just a big old free-for-all. We weren't middle schoolers, after all.
The memories of these wonderful kids will be in my heart forever. I hope that on this Valentine's Day, they will remember to check on their friends, even those who are not within their inner circles, to make sure they're having a good day today. I miss you all more than you will ever know.
Happy ❤ Day from Mrs. J.
|Lilly's handmade note was left on my plan book.|
|Such good girls with such big hearts.|
|Sorting out the Valentines.|
|These friendships are off to a great start.|
|Feeling the love!|
|Good friends were not hard to find in this group.|
|What a sweetie!|
|Helping our friends was what we did.|
|So many good, helpful people in our classroom.|
|It was a good day for silliness and fun.|
|My sweet boys...always near my computer to check out our class pictures on slideshows.|
|Oh, I miss these faces!|
|What would I have done without my Mrs. V?|
|Everybody dance now!|
|Sweet smiles on the sweetest day.|
|They loved to dance and sing.|
|My awesome boys, huddled up, making a plan for their next dance moves.|
|My teacher survival kit...for the day AFTER Valentine's Day!|