A Teacher’s First Goodbye

Channeling Discussion Questions

Over the course of the last three months, I’ve been teaching for a reading program with students across all age levels. Today, I composed my first goodbye in my 8th grade class. I wasn’t ready and was ready in the best sense of the word. I truly believe that’s how we all approach our passings as there’s a sense of eternity in temporality.

Three months ago, I didn’t believe in myself and my talents and capacity to teach and write, but I’ve grown in both those regards since then. I’ve become a better person for having taught my 225 students (yes, you read that right). I’ve shared some smiles, some sighs, some follow-up questions as my students continued to show up again and again within the meaningful discussions we led. I crafted the questions. I sat with them. I listened to them and read their words and now we say goodbye.

Because in some regard, I’ve been on this journey for three months and my students have been with me throughout my challenges without even knowing it. It’s hard to say goodbye. It’s even harder to say goodbye when you know goodbyes are secretly hellos in disguise, but I continue to do it again and again because that’s where I derive my meaning from, but it’s time to go now.

So, I take this meaning and put it in my pocket — to disseminate, to listen to, to contemplate as I weave the story of my life on this page you hold in your hands now.

I am incredibly grateful to have been a teacher to my students. It has been a privilege and an honor to be of service to them as I nurtured them in the very place where they stood.

I will not forget one moment of this.

So long.

Goodbye (Hello).

-Ilyssa