Three. It’s a number I tend to avoid. Not for any good reason. I grew up hearing “Bad things come in threes.” Rationally, I know this is absolutely ridiculous. Maybe some of it rubbed off unbeknownst to me, though. Maybe it is because I have seen too many groups of three that just don’t work very well. One kid is always a little to the side of the other two. Maybe it is because March, the third month of the year, is one of the most miserable months where I grew up. My mind is filled with memories of standing out on the tennis court during practice, turning my back to the wind so that only my legs would feel the blast of the desert sand beating into my body. I don’t know, I just am not crazy about that pesky number three.
Today, I am awash in it.
Only three more days with my students. We wrapped up a giant project today and I can finally think about something besides getting ready for our big engineering competition. Will all the toys work? Will the students oral presentations be ready? Will I have enough judges? Is the space ready for the event? These are all answered and over. The event was a success. The exhausted aftermath has arrived. I am ready for summer, but I am not ready to say goodbye to these kids. Some I will see next year. Some are moving away and I will not see again.
Three years gone in the blink of an eye. I have spent the last three years with my eighth grade student aides. They started out with me in my sixth grade class. They popped by my class regularly during seventh grade and some of them went to a STEM camp with me last summer. They spent every day of eighth grade helping in my classroom. They filed things for me. They helped me make foldables to use with my students. They cut endless pieces of laminated game pieces. They served as peer tutors for sixth graders needing a little bit of extra help. They helped out with stations and centers in my class. They were role models for my sixth graders. I am so lucky to have shared their journey and am excited to see them take on new adventures. I know they will be successful because they all know the value of hard work and perseverance. I know they will face challenges and hard choices in the years to come, but have confidence that they will overcome those challenges. I will miss them, though. I will miss starting each day with Simran and hearing about her latest soccer game. I will miss the teamwork that has been so much a part of Hailey and Hannah for the last three years. I will miss hearing about Hailey’s latest quilt project and Hannah’s latest book selection. I will miss Eamon’s patience with students who are struggling and his stories about snowboarding. I will miss Will’s insight into younger students, his ability to find just the right thing to say to encourage a kid lacking in confidence. I will miss Jacob’s sense of responsibility while maintaining the ability to still just be a kid. So three, in this context, is a bittersweet number.
Three, you are not my favorite number.