After Saying, “Goodbye!”

I was just reading David Fife‘s recent blog post, and it really resonated with me. His post talks about the difficulties with saying, “goodbye”: both with the person leaving and the people left behind. I remember being one of these people leaving last year. I was leaving a school that I taught at for nine years. Between homeroom classes and prep coverage, I taught every grade from JK-Grade 6, and connected with numerous students and families. Yes, it was my choice to leave, but it was still incredibly hard to do so.

This year has been a wonderful one of personal and professional growth. While I miss Ancaster Meadow, I totally love Dr. Davey, and I’m very excited to be teaching there again next year. This week has been a hard one though. My Grade 1 class is Skype Buddies with a Grade 2 class at Ancaster Meadow, and today, this class planned a special Play Day for us. I got to bring my Grade 1’s to my old school. I’ve been incredibly anxious about this visit all week long. How do you go back after you’ve left?


I will say that this isn’t my first time back at the school. I was involved in a PD Day session there in the wintertime, but it was only with some of the staff and none of the students. Today was different. All of the staff and students were there. It was like I was going back to my school, but it wasn’t my school any more. I realized today that as challenging as it can be to leave, it can sometimes be just as challenging to go back.

Throughout the visit today, I was amazed by the number of students that came up to me to chat. It wasn’t even all of the kids that I taught. Some of the students just remember talking on lunch duty, passing in the hallway, or connecting on bus duty. I taught some of their siblings. I worked with their parents on committees. I was a familiar face that now isn’t there.

One conversation really got to me. It was a very short one that I had with a previous student over the lunchtime. This student came into the Grade 2 classroom to meet my Grade 1’s. After waving hello and asking some of them their names and ages, she turned to me and said, “Miss Dunsiger, you [you’re] only here for a short visit?” Yes … yes, I am. And that’s the thing with leaving. We can come back for visits. We can re-connect. We can get excited as we see old friends and colleagues and previous students and families. But then once again, we have to say, “goodbye.” 

Today, I took the bus back to a school that I love with students that I adore, who continually amaze me with what they do and how they think. I’m lucky to work at Dr. Davey, but I was also lucky to work at Ancaster Meadow. After a year away and a wonderful new teaching experience, I still feel that sadness in saying, “goodbye.” Does this ever change? How do you adjust to “visiting” after you left? It’s nice to say, “hello” again, but it’s hard to say, “goodbye.”


6 thoughts on “After Saying, “Goodbye!”

  1. What an amazing reflection of your day! I think you pour your emotions and dedicate yourself to every person, school and place you go! People will always like you because you’re a good person 🙂

    Goodbyes are difficult, trust me I am dealing with goodbyes next week. It hasn’t even hit me yet but it will soon.

    • Thanks for the kind words, Labika! I think that there’s so much we can learn from each new experience, and even though “goodbyes” are hard, new experiences are great too. Change is good, even though it can be a challenge.

      All the best to you as you say your goodbyes next week and move onto exciting new adventures!

  2. Aviva,

    I love that you continue to be open about your learning and experiences. Your post today about going back to your old school shows that the connections made will last a long time. Thanks for sharing your reflections on “hellos” and “goodbyes”.

    • Thanks David! Today definitely showed me just how important it is to connect with students. It’s when we do so that we can go back and have these amazingly positive experiences, even when it is so challenging to say, “goodbye” again.


  3. Hi Aviva, I missed your visit today, I was not at work. Maybe see you next time when you visit A.M. Saying ‘goodbye’ and ‘visiting’ after having left a school is difficult for many reasons. I have repeated this process 6 times in my teaching career and every school departure was different; every arrival at the new school was different as well. I don’t think there is a ‘best’ way to handle the roller coaster of emotions. The memories from all schools, staffs, students I will cherish forever. Now, after 25 years of teaching what is really nice to experience is when a former student from 20 years ago says ‘hello’ and they mention how they still remember being in my class and recall a few fun events/lessons etc. I always hope to make a difference in the life of one student (and more).

    • Thanks for the comment, David! I looked in your room today & noticed a supply teacher. Sorry I didn’t have the chance to see you & many others today. It would have been nice to reconnect. This is my sixth school as well, but it’s the one I was at the longest, and the only one I’ve really gone back to visit. Today, reminded me what an impact we can have on kids. I hope that all of my former students have positive memories for the times when our paths may cross again.


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