Goodbye to My First Hello

Saying Goodbye to the first group of 8th graders whom I also had as first graders!
Goodbye and Hello 8th Grade English,
As I sit here typing my goodbye, my mind begins spinning faster than my fingers can type. Stories spin in my brain all the way back to our first hello as my fingers punch away at the keyboard. I can’t help but hear the words of Hemingway; “There is nothing to writing. You just sit down at a keyboard and bleed.”
And though I may not have actually seen blood during our writing time together, I did see the clichéd red ink, I certainly saw furrowed brows, flying fingers, and even tears a time or two. Yet, despite the anxt of such intellectual work and creating; the aftermath of the beautifully created piece on paper and the fruition of the story that has certainly moved us, our lives are literally more enriched because of these experiences and written pieces.
I am ridiculously proud of each and every one of you.
I hope that you are gifted with many more teachers who are willing to shake up your norm and that you are willing to be shaken. Question your beliefs and hold yourself accountable for providing facts for your truths. Seeking out evidence should not be reserved to only your research papers….but to the research you do for mapping out your life. Be the cartographer of your own landscapes and regions. Map out a path to your dreams and go there enough that those dreams become your reality.
Be mindful of how you spend your time. True, it is yours to spend, and as my own High School teacher told me once, variety and moderation….
But, be mindful.
· Surround yourself with variety in all things, thoughts, people and places.
· Surround yourself with a community of learners. This isn’t going to necessarily be people who all agree with you however, there is no need be surrounded by people who always want to bicker either; find a happy medium.
· Surround yourself with a group that makes you feel safe enough to laugh so loudly others sush you, a group that let’s you cry openly, and a group that is more half-full than empty.
I am a lucky teacher who has been able to surround myself with many of you not just once, but now twice and I am twice as blessed for that. You, maybe because you already knew me, maybe because at least your parents already knew me and you wanted to be polite, gave me a chance to try, to be silly, to be tough, to make mistakes, to ask for help, to show up each day and despite it all….. we all learned.
I grew and blossomed in this small space where there wasn’t enough room for my things. I left it all, I gave it all away in order to refill and now my cup surely runneth over.
I’m forever grateful for your honesty. It was in these hard truths, where you may have wanted to push me away that I wanted to stretch myself to reach you even more. Sometimes it takes not letting go to get students to the point, where they can now go.
So, as we say good-bye, may you embrace and excitedly await your next best hello.
It Is With Love –
Your 8th Grade English Teacher,
Tulley – 2017

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