Yesterday the preschool where I work had its first ever "Stepping Up" ceremony for the 4 year olds.
At the end of the ceremony the 40 or so kids stood at the front, singing the words we sang together at the end of every music class I've taught there over the last 4 years:
(to the tune of Frere Jaques)
Goodbye Friends, Good Friends
Time to Go, Time to Go
Thank You for Singing, Thank You for Singing
Love You So, Love You So.
I stood in the back of the room, signing along with tears in my eyes. Because the kids aren't the only ones moving on. I will never again sit in a circle with those kids, singing those words. Waving goodbye. The hugs and the high-fives that followed will go to another teacher next year.
I fell into the job when the previous teacher moved on to a full time job, and the director of the preschool asked if I was interested. I protested with my lack of formal music training. She said she knew I could sing and do hand motions. And that I would love the kids.
And I have loved those kids. True, there were days I wanted to duct tape a few of them to a chair. But even those kids... I have loved them. It has been a joy to watch them grow. It has also been a joy to watch the teachers who work with them. If you haven't thanked a preschool teacher lately, do it today. It takes an amazing kind of person to do that job.
It has been a gift to me to share music with so many children. One morning as I left for school I said to my husband "I'm off to instill a love of music in small children." I hope that I have. They have helped deepen mine.