As some of you know, I'm a special ed teaching assistant in a Title I school. We have 4 days left of school. I have such mixed feelings about the end of this school year. Some of the kids I've worked with this year I might not ever see again, and I feel sad about that. I'll never know how they are doing or if they are getting the services they need, and I really care about them and want good things for them. I don't know how to just let them go.
One child (who I do expect to work with again in the fall) is from a semi-neglectful home, and I'm really worried about him over the summer. I'm going to have a really hard time letting him go next week.
I'll be back at the same school next year, but in a different role. This year I'm a floating TA and I'm in 3 different classrooms over the course of the day -- mostly working with special ed students who are on the general education track. Next year I'll be in the self-contained grade 3-5 classroom (my buddy who I am worried about over the summer will in the that class next year!) I asked for the position when it became open and it is what I want, but I've learned so much and grown so much in the role that I'm in, and I like that I've gotten to know SO MANY kids this year (65 children sang happy birthday to me this year, and that was pretty special)! I'm going where I wanted to be in the first place, but I'm sad to leave where I am because it's been really intense and weirdly wonderful.
I am glad that I'm going back to the same school - I just found out for sure this week. It's a really wonderful school. There is a lot of need -- families in crises, parents who don't speak English, kids with parents in prison etc -- but there is such a wonderful staff of adults who really have a sense of mission and purpose about what they are doing, who really care about the kids.
but everything has pros and cons
You've clearly found your calling. So happy for you! Also happy that you have found it within such a wonderful community.
Just as parents need to keep our own cups full to be present for our kids, so do teachers need to take care of themselves and recharge to be present for the kids they borrow So think of the summer as part of your professional development, so you'll be that much more available for the kids in the fall
And I don't think you have to really let them go. You can keep them in your heart, just as they are no doubt keeping you in theirs.