Class starts promptly at 8:15. So you can imagine my agitation when, just before the bell rang at 8:15, there were none of my students to be found in my classroom. With this particular section of English class it’s rare for this to happen, as most of them arrive ten minutes early and spend those ten minutes asking me questions about what we will do during class.
Suddenly, one boy in a green hoodie came running into the classroom and slammed the door behind him. “They’re chasing me!” he exclaimed and proceeded to walk to the middle of the classroom.
“Well, why are they chasing you?” I asked, becoming annoyed that already by 8:15 there could have been a rowdy enough situation in the hallway with my 7th graders to warrant a chase. Is it possible I once had that much energy? Was there, in fact, a day when I was once alert enough by 8:15 to move or even to think quickly enough for a chase?
Suddenly there was a knock on the door and, puzzled, I asked my student—-the one who was being chased—-to open it. And then it happened:
“SURPRISE!” And in the doorway stood fourteen of my students, each armed with goodies: cakes, brigadeiro, juice, chocolates, breads, baked goods.
They busted into the room and held these things out to me, ME standing behind my desk with a pen in hand frozen in the midst of sifting through a pile of papers and my mouth open with shock. All I could say was “What?! What are you guys doing?!” And they looked back at me with grins as wide as the classroom, giggling and chatting and asking, “Can we have a party?”
The ONLY answer to that kind of question, especially when confronted with all their gleaming little faces, faces that clearly show they’ve managed to fool their teacher, is “Of course.” And so we partied.
It was a goodbye party and although the time to leave isn’t exactly right now, their timing was perfect. When I think on it now, I am moved almost to tears by their kindness, their cunning, and their joy. It’s how I can’t wait to remember them, little bundles of smiling energy this morning. I had thought to bring my camera today, I’m not sure why. Sometimes I take it along with me. And it’s a good thing, too. I filmed them performing “The Highwayman,” and I filmed them at the party. It will be nice, once I’m home in the States, to be able to hear their voices again and see them as they were today during our special party.
Adequate words fail to come to mind right now.
I will miss them SO much.