To quote the Grateful Dead: "What a long, strange trip it's been."
We started this year with the possibility of Westbrook closing at the end of the year. I didn't want to make that the focus of the entire year, so I tried to make this a year a memorable one for the students. And this year did not disappoint on the memorable scale.
It started with a classroom without air conditioning. It continued with the announcement that the school would actually close. It led into the Coronavirus, online teaching, an earthquake, the dismissal of school for the remainder of the year. During this entire time I kept thinking, "This is not what I meant by being memorable."
Not that it's all been bad. Even though I wasn't thrilled about it at the time, our Learning For Life camp, which is usually scheduled as our final field trip of the year, actually became our first field trip. And looking back on it now, had we waited to go in May, we would've missed it entirely.
Our school was lucky enough to not only have a tree in the annual Festival of Trees, but we had a school-wide field trip to go there.
I will look back on this year with fondness. This group of kids did amazing things and I couldn't be more proud of them and their hard work, all things considered.
As a teacher, it's difficult saying goodbye to students every year. The only redeeming value of it was, as a fifth grade teacher, I would see most of my students the following year as they returned to Westbrook for 6th grade. Obviously that's not happening next year. We are all going our separate ways, and it breaks my heart that I never got the chance to say goodbye to every student the way they deserve.
It seems kind of lame to say goodbye like this, but it's probably better this way so you don't see a blubbering Mr. Taylor.
Thank you, parents, for the support you gave me this year. I know that I'm not the typical teacher, and I'm sure there have been times that you wondered if I taught anything but music and pirates in my class. Just know that your child's learning was first and foremost on my mind.
And thank you, students. You inspired me daily to not only be a better teacher, but a better person. I have loved the time that we spent together. It will be a year that I will always remember.
I will miss you all. Please keep me up to date on the happenings in your life. (Concerts, games, church events, life events, school events) I will try to support you as much as I can.
I love you all. I wish you the best of luck in sixth grade and beyond. Just remember: Always do your best! If that's the only thing you remember from my class, I have succeeded as a teacher.