June 20, 2014 - 7:13 AM
‘This is not the way I wanted it to end.’
It’s a line I heard over and over again during the teacher strike. It’s applicable to both retiring teachers and the students who saw their school year end with less than 24 hours notice.
Many of the students, abruptly told last Thursday would be their last day of school this year, were forced to pack up their belongings and say goodbye to their teachers and friends.
While stopping by the school to help my daughter pack up her stuff that day, her teacher stood by with red-rimmed eyes, hugging each of the students as they came to tell him he was the ‘best teacher ever’ and they would miss him. He patiently responded to questions about the likelihood of school next week with an honest “I don’t know.”
The room was in shambles as students ripped everything out of their desks and lockers and they shared their long-lost finds with each other.
They exchanged hugs in the halls between students, teachers and support staff while parents ran in the doors with hastily-wrapped gifts hoping to get there before the teachers were forced to leave 30 minutes after the final bell. My daughter was excited for summer break to begin early but was near tears several nights since because she couldn't properly say goodbye to her teacher or her friends. Gifts she was making for the class sit unfinished. We don’t know when they will be handed out.
While it obviously impacts each teacher on a different level, it is hard to see the ones who are retiring, the ones who have poured their hearts into their work over the years, facing picket lines during the last several weeks of their careers.
These teachers, even more so, were forced to quickly go through their classrooms and choose what to keep and what could stay for the next teacher, both sentimental and practical items that surrounded their second home for so many years.
No matter where you stand on the issue, it’s hard not to see the impact the strike is having at the school level. On our students. On our teachers.
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