My Head of Department suggested that I come into school for a day before the Christmas holidays to see how it felt being there with students before I committed to begin teaching again in the new year. I nervously agreed to come in yesterday afternoon to meet with my form. I didn’t have any pressure to plan a lesson, just to pop in and say hello. I agree with my boss that this was a good idea, but I was really nervous pulling up to the school. I hadn’t seen my students in almost three months! A colleague met me in the front office and walked me over to the building that I teach in where I had cup of coffee with a few teachers before going into my classroom for the first time since Terry died.
If I didn’t have someone else to open the door, I think I might have hid in the hallway forever, but the door was opened and before I knew it I had 29 smiling faces waving at me and screaming ‘Ms Kimberly!!!’ (I’m kind of a big deal in 8AKY) As nervous as I was entering the room, it was really nice to see my girls. I brought them some American goodies that I passed out. They nibbled on them and we went around the classroom so that everyone could tell me one nice thing that happened since I’ve been gone. I heard about new pets, new braces, the hottest movies, the school’s new gym and it was such a positive environment to be in that I couldn’t help but smile with them.
I spent about 20 minutes with the girls before I had to leave to see the deputy head about my timetable coming back in January. As I was leaving, the girls presented me with this beautiful card:
They also piled presents and cards on top of me – so many that I had to ask some of them to help me carry them to my office! I was so overwhelmed by their presents that I nearly wept. In that moment I felt so very loved. I thanked them for the lovely presents and cards and most of all for the beautiful book that they had made for me.
I was feeling sad a few days ago because I wouldn’t have a stocking from Terry to open on Christmas Day this year, but now I have all of these lovely gifts to open and I couldn’t be any happier.
I have decided with my bosses to begin teaching 2 hours a week in January – teaching French to my form – to get my feet wet again and then to add classes as I feel able. I cannot begin to thank my school for being so accommodating as I return to work and knowing that I don’t have to return to my original timetable right away takes a huge burden off of my shoulders.
I went out to dinner with a friend after school and as we were walking out one of my Year 11s, who was never very nice to me in lessons, saw me and fist-pumped saying Yes! Ms Kimberly’s back! I had an excellent dinner and when I came home I read some of my students’ Christmas cards that they had written to me. Here are a few of my favourites:
I know that going back to work is a big step moving forward and I am really nervous about it, but I also know that my colleagues will support me in whatever I need and that my Year 8s love and miss me and that makes me really look forward to getting back into work in the new year, in a nervous sort of way.