On the very last day of my first student teaching placement, the teacher told me that the day would proceed as per usual except there would be a Puppet Show around 1:30pm for the fifth graders.  So I spent most of the day shadowing teachers in other grades and in various classroom situations. At 11:30am, the students and I went out for an early recess, took a class picture, and played kickball. The kids were ecstatic to play kickball with me! It was so cute! After that we all had lunch.

Once lunch was complete, one of the fifth grade special education teachers and myself stayed late to continue talking about some important post-career plans. We walked up to the classroom together and when I walked in, all 43 of my students popped out from hiding spots and yelled, “SURPRISE!”

I couldn’t hold it together. I cried. Pretty hard, in fact! I told the students that I was grateful for their generosity and willingness to work so hard to keep the surprise a secret! They then presented me with a huge bin full of school supplied and desk decorations that the students and teacher compiled. With shaky hands, I tried to sift through the bin of goodies. There was also a keepsake book the students put together and a hand-crafted card from each student as well.

As if I weren’t overwhelmingly pleased already, the kids said they had another surprise for me.  As I looked up, my favorite movie of ALL time was playing on the SMART Board: “Finding Nemo”!  They told me that we were going to watch the whole movie for the rest of the school day and that there wasn’t actually a puppet show planned at all!

Sitting in the back of the classroom, I read through all of the students’ cards. When something funny in the movie happened (which was basically every three seconds), I couldn’t help but laugh out loud!  The kids got a kick out of this. Each time I laughed all 43 students would spin around and smile at me.  I think they thought it was cool that I, a teacher, loved a movie they love as well.

The warm wishes and thoughtful good-byes touched my heart.  The students said they would miss me greatly and begged me to come visit as soon as my next placement was over.  My teacher had wonderful things to say as well, including: “I often forgot that you were my student teacher and considered you my colleague.”  And, “You have teaching abilities that are well-beyond your years. You do things, without thinking twice about it, that some teachers don’t learn until years and years into the job!”

Needless to say, this placement was a HUGE success!