Friday, April 27, 2012

First Goodbyes

Today I was o-v-e-r-c-o-m-e, o-v-e-r-w-h-e-l-m-e-d, and o-v-e-r-j-o-y-e-d.

O-v-e-r-c-o-m-e with emotion.
O-v-e-r-w-h-e-l-m-e-d by the preciousness of children.
O-v-e-r-j-o-y-e-d by God's goodness evident throughout the day.

It was my last day to teach at Thursday Connection, the homeschool co-op where I have taught for four years.  The place where I have seen children grow, mature, and develop into strong young men and women of faith.  The people there have become my "Thursday Family" and it's been an honor to be a part of such an incredible group.

A few blog posts I've written in the past about TC:
Why I Love Thursdays
A Few Reasons Why I Love Teaching
And a Little Child Shall Lead Them
Helping Orphans in Africa - Perspective from a Sixth Grader

During my time at TC, unforgettable memories have been made. Sometimes, I can't believe the things I've done as a teacher.  Let's see...  I've led funerals for "banned words" laying them to rest in a real coffin so my students will stop using them in their writing assignments.  I've bribed kids in my classes to sing their 49 Prepositions for the Talent Show.  I've made a working digestive system - ending with real poop.  I've willingly held pig eyeballs and other organs which I picked up WARM from a sausage factory.  (Yes, students, I sacrifice much for you!)  I've witnessed middle school boys and girls create a skit and perform it as synchronized swimmers building a bridge.  I've had boys cut their hair with scissors I passed out for a craft.  I've had my blood drawn in front of a class for educational purposes.  I've read papers written by students that expose the depths of their soul.  I've cried with kids who are hurting.  I've been burdened for children facing challenges and have had the privilege to pray for them.  I've read the work of budding poets.  I've read stories and seen student presentations that make me cry.  Unprompted, I've had students write poems, stories, and books for me.  I've been given visions by God showing me what potential is in each child and what kind of impact each one can have on this world.  Mostly, I've been given an undeniable gift - a small piece of each child's heart.  And, I've given them part of mine.  

Last year, my students walked with us through our adoption.  I remember when Reid came to tell me our I-600 had been approved.  I started crying and all the kids started cheering - even though they had no clue what an "I-600" was!  Later other students were running up to me celebrating that we had been approved because, you know, Mrs. Beebe's I-600 approval was the buzz in the hallways.  These students were prayer warriors who prayed our son home!  Students from my classes even surprised us at the airport when Godwin came home.  Papers written last year about caring for orphans caused me to wonder what seeds the Lord was planting on hearts.

Thursday Connection has been such a blessing in my life.  I've looked forward to teaching each week.  And today was the last day with the kids who have filled my life for years.   It's hard to believe.

Pardon the derailing, but last Saturday I had a bad fall which injured one of my ribs.  Either a severe bruise on my rib or a fracture has caused pain since then.  A dull, throbbing pain has been constant with sharp intensity sideswiping me if I breathe too deeply or cough.  It's been the same with the emotion of my heart.  A dull pain has begun to cover my inmost being - knowing we are leaving the people we love and everything we have known.  This dull heartache is constant.  Today the pain intensified.  Sharp intense pain came in waves as I said "Goodbye" to my precious kids.

As each class left the room, tears swept down my cheeks, and I didn't care.  Today, I warned each class I was "weepy."  (Poor kids.)  They didn't seem to mind, and some became tearful with me.  Even the stalwart boys showed some raw emotion.  I knew today would be the last time I would see some of these children, so I had to make the most of it.  I told my kiddos that as they left the room, I planned to kiss them on the head and give them a hug.  Then as each child stood before me, as my composure would allow, I spoke God's blessing over each boy and girl.  I shared words I hoped would penetrate the depths of their heart conveying the truth of their value, worth, and purpose.

What an honor.

What a privilege.

What TRUTH in the value of each child.

It's crazy how much I love these kids.  I recently heard this quote, "I hope you hurt deeply.  If you hurt deeply, it means you have loved deeply... and that you have been loved deeply."  Today, this was my reality.

So, students of mine, please always remember...

Shurley English 3

R, E, B, and N, you've made me proud this year.  My days always started with lots of laughter and learning because you were my students.  You brought much JOY to each week.  I'll always remember you.  Keep growing.  Keep writing.  (Please use a "frindle" for your writing so it will be permanent. Ha!)  All of the special books, poems and pictures you gave me are now packed for Africa.  (Kim and Stacy, thanks for learning all the parts of speech inside and out so you could grade the workbooks!)

Precious students, I love you all!

Hands on Human Body 4-6
We had a year, didn't we?  Remember sticking your finger in a real aorta, examining bones, soaking teeth in orange soda, covering a scab, cupping water at the pace of your heart beating, and turning a PB&J sandwich into real poop!  Thanks for loving each other well and growing together.  You all blessed me with your incredible presentations.  Isn't God's creation of our body amazing?  Thank you for making learning FUN this year!  Your special gifts will be traveling with us to Ghana.  Thank you!   (Ty, I couldn't have done it without you!  Call me for a letter of recommendation should you ever need it.)

Silly Poop-Makers, I love you all!

Hands On Human Body K-3
What fun we had this year!  Remember the war between the white blood cell and the bacteria.  Remember the red blood cell serving everyone food (nutrients).  Remember our bone race and our platelet race.  Never forget making a candy cell with a plastic egg.  Remember having your body traced and measuring your digestive system with yarn.  Most of all, remember praying for little Molly as a class - then seeing that prayer answered today!  What an amazing God we have!  We praise Him!  

(Stacy, what a blessing you have been!  Thanks for stepping into the craziness and loving it!  You were a life saver!
Sweet Prayer Warriors, I love you all!

Shurley English 5
Oh, how you make me laugh!  Oh, how you make me cry!  Thank you all for giving me a glimpse into your heart.  Heartfelt writing assignments tugged on my compassion.  Poems about dolphins, pets, blue balls, etc... made me smile.  Limericks and reading about what happens when you oversleep made me laugh.  Thank you for sharing your writing assignments literally by bringing Dutch Baby Pancakes on our last day!

Thank you for writing what you would do to help the orphans in Africa.  (Caroline B and Grant R, if you are reading this, I still remember your paper on this topic from a few years ago!)  Students, thank you for diving into challenging books to learn about history and Godly character.  Corrie ten Boom can teach everyone!  Thank you for avoiding the banned words, (ha!) applying yourselves to your assignments, and giving your all.  It was evident you desired to learn and grow.  Now that you all know how to write letters correctly and address the envelope, I hope to receive many once we are in Ghana!

(Cheryl, thank you for the help.  Abby and Hannah, are you done crying?  Thinking of the two of you makes me want to start again!  Thanks for all your help, love, support, and HUGS each week!  You were a huge blessing!  I love you both!)

Future Writers of America, I love you all!

Brain Quest

 Riddle me this - Who can cross shark infested waters on lily pads as a team?  Who can begin with different numbers, perform the same mathematical operation, and end up with exactly the same answer although beginning with different numbers?  Who can build a hide out at TC in the yard to protect all the students and area goats in the case of a national emergency?  Who could have escaped from the World Trade Center on September 11th, with a physical handicap?

Who can act out a skit five times beginning a new way every time, but always have the same ending?  Who can invent a new sport called "Yarishuneka" for the Olympics?  Who can perform ballet while in a hurricane?  Who can perform impromptu charades?  Who can deduce, if A, then B with C. If not A, Then B not C?  Who can locally tell me if a man travels to Nantucket on a plane taking 15 hours on a Thursday with a stopover in Germany then who was trailing with the man?  Okay class, who is it?  Why it's all of you, of course!

It's been so much fun teaching you this year.   your creativity inspires me.  Your reasoning astounds me.  Your humor surprises me!  What a blessing all of you are!  E, S, C, S - I've taught you for years, and will miss your presence in my life.  YOU are all a JOY!

Crazy Brain Quest Class, I love you all!

There are so many "God Stories" from today.  I hope to share them all.  However, it's been a long day.  My eyes are still swollen and I need to head to bed.

Everyone at TC, you have impacted my life deeply.  I am grateful for each one of you.  Keep loving and living.

"I hope you hurt deeply.  If you hurt deeply, it means you have loved deeply... and that you have been loved deeply." 

"A disciple is not above his teacher, but everyone when he is fully trained will be like his teacher."
Luke 6:40


TheBowlingFamily said...

Wow...what a legacy you are leaving! I can't imagine how deeply you have touched those kids lives!

I didn't know about your ribs...praying for you friend!

The Rare Amylesaurus said...

"What an honor.

What a privilege.

What TRUTH in the value of each child.

It's crazy how much I love these kids. I recently heard this quote, "I hope you hurt deeply. If you hurt deeply, it means you have loved deeply... and that you have been loved deeply." Today, this was my reality. "

This made me cry.... I will keep you and your family in my prayers!!