I have incredible stage fright, and was unable to, especially as emotional as I was. However, thinking about it, the stories I could tell from 19 weeks as his teacher and another 19 week watching football and baseball?
Here's what I wished I'd said:
I had the privilege to walk into a classroom of fifth graders at the beginning of the 2010 school year, as a long term sub. No one knew exactly how long the assignment would last or how attached we'd become to one another. I knew most of the students from spending the previous 2 years subbing at the school.
Before long, I was invited to a football game. And then another. It's a small town, you know all the players before long. And their team? It was good. I tried to instill in my kids that being a leader counts more than anything, but I can't lie, it was a blast to celebrate week after week.
I also had high expectations. You don't turn in your work? You're not playing. I knew the coach was only obligated to collect eligibility twice during the season. I made sure that my boys knew I would be reporting weekly. They all looked at each other, and were shocked when week after week I sent home eligibility reports.
I'll never forget the end of the second quarter. It was my last week as their teacher. It was the awards ceremony. This child was on the honor roll list. Because when you turn in your work, you earn the grades. He had no idea, but I'm pretty sure I'd called mom so she knew to try to be there. He had worked so hard and had such a good month that he also earned Student of the Month. I don't know who was more proud: me, mom or him.
Even after I was out of the classroom, I made sure they knew that if I knew when and where I'd be there. Baseball season came and I spent countless hours sitting with mom keeping score. I grew close to sister and her friends and I knew that it mattered if I was there, even though he'd NEVER admit that.
I'm not even going to pretend that every minute was great. He gave me a hard time, on many occasions, but we also understood each other. He knew how far he could push and he did so often, as most ten year old boys will do.
While I'm sad that I moved and didn't get to watch him grow in the last couple years, I'm so very glad he was in my class. I would trade nothing from that school year.