Saturday, May 30, 2015

Let's Celebrate Friends Who Feel Like Family!

It's time to CELEBRATE This Week with Ruth Ayres from Discover. Play. Build.  Every week Ruth invites us to share our celebrations from the week and link up at her blog. What a fun way to reflect on everything there is to be thankful for. 

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This week I'm celebrating friends who feel like family!

*throws confetti*

Honestly, I'm such a lucky girl. I could write this post about so many people who are friends but who truly feel like family. 

When I think about friends who feel like family, 
I think about people 
who I can trust
who believe in me
who care about me
who may not always agree with me but who respect me enough to listen 
who laugh along with my goofiness 
who make me laugh and not take things so seriously when I need it most. 

Friends who feel like family
are the best kind of friends.

Today I'm actually thinking about the friends I have made working in my school district over the last thirteen years who feel like family. In a few weeks, I'll pack up my office, turn in my keys, and say goodbye to them as the school year ends but this time it's a different kind of end to the school year for me. I'm thrilled to have accepted a position as a Technology Integration Specialist in a district much closer to home but it means leaving my family at U-46.

I believe what comes next for me is going to be absolutely amazing but I also know I need to acknowledge how it feels to leave a place I have worked my entire career, the experiences that have shaped me into the educator I am today, and the people who have made it worth it along the way. And how it feels is like someone has scooped a piece of my heart right out of my chest. Not just tugged at my heart strings, but snipped them clear away, severed and sad.

My sophomore year in college was the first time I visited a classroom in my district for observation hours. I did practicum hours my junior year and then also student taught there my senior year so U-46 has actually been part of my life for sixteen years.

I was lucky enough that I usually worked one-on-one with students so I got to know them and their families well. Students like Edwin, Nick, Jessica, Jose, Josh, Crystal, O'Shay, Iris, and Frankie, who I taught my first year of teaching, will always stay with me but so many others, like Jackie, Rosalba, Nathan, Derek, Alex, Cesar, Nia, Bryan, Yazmin, Michelle, Antchill, Jodi, Abbie, Diego, and Onyeka, I carry in my heart, too. And along the way, countless teachers and staff who also wanted what was best for students helped me see how to grow throughout the years. 

For the last three years, I've worked in two district-level positions that allowed me the opportunity to visit all 57 schools in my district and interact with new and veteran educators. I've had the pleasure of meeting educators who've let me into their lives, shared their practice with me, and invited me to join in on the struggles and celebrations they experience in their little corners of our very large district. I would list everyone from preschoolers to retired teachers who have carved a little etch in my heart here but it would go on and on and you'd be scrolling forever and ever only to never find the end. I'm going to miss all of them but I'm lucky to have amazing friends to cherish.

I've done a lot of crying in Starbucks this school year while writing blog posts but I don't even care any more. Feelings deserve to be felt. 

As I say goodbye to my precious friends who feel like family, 
I tell them It was nice working with you!
I give them an extra squeeze in my hug 
I remind them that in our connected world
they can tweet me
message me
e-mail me
call me. 
And thank goodness for that. 
Because even if my heart strings are stretched across a few miles
they will always be part of me and never far away.
And that's reason to celebrate.

What are you celebrating this week?

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