The Grade 1 class stood on the stage, their parents lining up or holding their phones up high to get the best photo. Some of the children grinned and giggled, most have grown up with someone’s phone held up to their face to capture the moment. They know what to do.
|The Caretaker Educator Pixabay - Wokandapix|
There were some kids though, who shifted from one foot to the other, they looked uncomfortable. They stood more solemnly, they stood erect and only casually glanced at the rows of parents and family members sitting in the gymnasium.
Some parents were teary seeing their babies finishing their first official year of school. How had that happened so fast? Some family members sneaked in late weaving between the rows after the start of the event. Some kept an eye on their phones or casually glanced at their watches “would this end in time for the second period of the playoff game?”
Grandparents’ faces shone with pride, a tattoo armed Dad sat at the back alone. Teachers struggled to keep their class in line, frustration held at bay. One boy just plain laid down on the floor, it had been a long day. Another wore a white shirt but looking at his face, he’d obviously found the chocolate. The girls sat and showed each other their sparkly shoes, as girls often do.
And then each grade made it to the stage. Each with a crew of characters in the making.
He waved to a short boy. Curtis and Michael had been best friends since grade 1, and then 'Mike' grew six inches this last year. The caretaker had watched and told the short boy not to worry. Mike was a good boy, he'd figure it out.
He saw the little sweetie who used to bring him cupcakes that she'd made all by herself. Now she was so grown up and soon would say goodbye.
Someone sitting near the back smelled of an after-work drink. He'd seen this before and stood ready in case he had to escort someone out.
Then at the end of the evening, the children went back to their classroom to pick up their belongings and everyone trailed out of the building.
The school caretaker picked up the bits and pieces left behind, some things don't change, he shook his head and began putting away the chairs. The other hallways had been swept for tomorrow, he turned off the remaining lights and closed the double doors.
Each year he said that it would be his last. He’d seen so many Grade 1s pass through these halls and just as many leave this school for bigger buildings.
One day soon though, he knew his cleaning days would come to an end. But he also knew that his days of educating others would go on forever.