Today I said goodbye to my fifth graders.

Most teachers can send their students off at the end of the year with a pat on the back and a “Have a good summer; see you next year!”

But not fifth grade teachers.

Our students are moving on, not only from our grade level but from our school. They’re leaving elementary school and becoming middle schoolers, and they’re excited to begin the journey. Somewhere in there, they know they’ll miss their fifth grade teachers, but mostly they’re too excited about sixth grade to think about it.

And their pitiful little fifth grade teacher is sitting in a corner, weepy-eyed and sniffling.

Because these kids will have upwards of 30 teachers by the time they graduate. That doesn’t mean they won’t remember us all, but honestly… they probably won’t remember us all. And yet I will remember them – every single one of them.

These children mean the world to me. They get under my skin and they drive me crazy but they manage to find a tiny little piece of my heart and they burrow into it so deeply that there will always be a part of them there.

And I guess all I can do is hope that I’ve found my way into their hearts, too, and that they know that I love them.

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