As the bell rang ending classes for the day, children burst out of the fourth grade classroom. They were screaming, smiling and hugging, with a sigh of relief that the school year was over. Inside the classroom a few careful ones were checking if they left anything behind. Many more were circling around the friends they would not
meet for the next few months. And around the teacher, getting the last hugs of the year.
Some parents came in, too, with cameras to take that last snap of their kid with the teacher who graciously agreed.
As I stood there to pick up my own fourth grader, the classroom and its walls looked empty. All of the students' artworks, posters, social science projects that had adorned the wall were gone. Stacks of textbooks inside now empty desks were returned to closeted bookshelves, ready for their next batch of users.
It was just the other day, I remembered, all of us parents were in this room, going over the syllabus and rules for the fourth grade with the same teacher, sitting on those small chairs that would soon be occupied by our children. That was a year ago. Since then, it was this classroom that would become the centerpiece of my son's enthusiastic conversation every day after returning from school. It was here through these doors, each day he came out routinely, but decidedly a little bit taller.
I felt a sudden emptiness in my heart as my son was about to leave this corner of his lifebehind. I realized those familiar stories about this classroom that I took for granted due to daily repetition, were now gone forever, even though they would be replaced by stories of some other classroom and some other teacher. These classroom walls would not stay empty, either? they would be filled up with artworks of new fourth graders, whose parents would sit on these small chairs on their Back to School night.