by Cheryl Merrick
Soon an era will close.
For ten years the teacher and I
have worked together
loving each of her third grade classes.
We’ve tried having me correct papers, present vocabulary,
help with crafts, give writing lessons,
substitute for her, do poetry units,
and lead writing groups.
Finally, I’ve settled, comfortably,
into being a writing mentor,
coaching the children in writing
one afternoon a week.
Over the years,
we have supported each other
as we have each dealt with
family sorrows and major health problems.
We have faced rejection and disappointments--
been patient with each other’s weaknesses,
and shared many joyful moments.
Together we have considered
ways to help a child,
and rejoiced in seeing the child grow
in skills and confidence.
Bound by a love of children
and a desire to teach them,
we have spent our moments together--
my sharing time, talents and insights,
her sharing warmth, experience, and dedication.
Though I will miss working with the teacher,
I feel at peace
knowing this is the right time
for her to end her professional teaching career.
New possibilities await her.
Finally, she will have the time to do things
she has longed to do.
And, at last, she will be able to enjoy
the rest she desperately needs.
Thankful for the opportunities
she has given me to try my teaching wings,
I now close this time,
having learned from her example,
and, though confident in my abilities,
sure that I do not want to teach professionally.
Yes, our teaching time
is coming to a close,
but our friendship,
knit, stitch by stitch,
by time and love,
will continue always.