Here you go with a (mostly) non-cancer story.
Yesterday was my last day of work for 7 weeks. I’ll be taking 6 weeks of leave + Spring break. I tried to regularly remind students that when they came back from the break I wouldn’t be there. I had a few walk into class and say they were sad because it was my last day. Many came up to me after each class and gave me a hug. I hadn’t planned in-depth lessons on account of being the Friday before the break so it was a nice relaxing day.
For the last two weeks we’ve been focused on getting the last of the tomatoes potted up, plants cleaned up and things taken care of. It has been a whirlwind of plants and soil. Every day I walk into the greenhouses and marvel at the work these young individual are doing.
It is incredible. See those hanging baskets? They did that! They are making observations. They are asking questions. They are growing things.
I get excited to see the work that they are doing. I went through the greenhouses the other day and did a rough count of how many tomatoes and pepper plants they’d grown. The estimate is around 1040. We have about 200 hanging baskets scattered throughout the greenhouses. We’ve grown things from seed, cutting and plugs. They take photos of the plants and post them on social media. Not because I tell them to, but because they think they’re cool.
The students have been prepping for one monster of a plant sale.
One crappy thing about this leave is that right smack in the middle of it is the sale. That means I won’t be there for the sale. To top things off, the long-term sub also cannot be there for the sale. It means that my assistant and the sub for the sub will have to run the show. Oh wait… nope. That means these incredible students have to run the show.
You know what? They’ll kick ass.
Thursday I sent out an email to parents asking if anyone would be available to be an extra set of hands on the day of the sale. It couldn’t hurt to have a few people there to make sure students are where they are supposed to be. In response I received emails from parents offering support, but also telling me what an impact I’d had in their student’s life.
I’ve always wanted to be a teacher. As a girl I would listen to my grandfather talk about his students and I listen to the pride he had in them. I saw the graduates come visit him for coffee after he’d retired. I see on social media the praise they have for him where he’d made a major impact on them when they were young. I wanted that too. I wanted to be the person who inspired young people to grow plants or develop a love of nature. What I didn’t understand was that I could have an impact beyond that.
Yesterday was my last day. As a last hurrah we released 50,000 ladybugs in the greenhouses to do their work over the break. Most everyone loves ladybug day. They all had to pull out their phones to video and take photos. There are probably a million photos of me all over social media with ladybugs crawling everywhere. There was laughter, giggles and the occasional yelp. It was wonderful.
When all was said and done I made my way back to the classroom to find all kinds of students hanging out. They were there to give hugs and say goodbye. Students from this year and last.
I am so incredibly proud of these young people and all they’ve accomplished. I am happy that I am able to give them a space where they can work with their hands and forget about all of the other stuff going on in life. I will continue to advocate for them and cheer them on.
It’s all going to be great.