I turned up as usual and watched the class register being read and the count of who was having a hot dinner and who was having sandwiches... but before a couple of people were chosen to read with me as the others went off to assembly, the teacher announced that this would be my last reading session for a while. A lot of the kids had the good grace to look sad, and when asked who wanted to read with me today, they all desperately (and gratifyingly) thrust their hands into the air. In the end, the teacher picked a handful of kids who haven't read with me for a while, much to the disappointment of Chloe, who seems to have taken a particular shine to me, and I spent the next hour listening as they took it in turns to read with me. I especially enjoyed reading with Molly, the deaf girl in the class. The device that plugs into her hearing aid and amplifies the voice of her teacher from the background noise was broken, but she was still really insistent that she wanted to read with me, and -- as usual -- we had absolutely no problems at all.
When it was Paige's turn, she asked me where I was going, and when I said (for the sake of simplicity) "Australia", she nodded sagely and told me that she went on holiday to Skegness. Before we started reading, she solemnly gave me this drawing that she'd been working on as she waited.
When we finished - interrupted from our book about a friendly monster called Tig only when her friend Emily needed some help getting her inhalers down from the cupboard - both girls gave me a hug as I walked them back to the ICT lab to join the rest of their class. Before I could get away, the whole class was halted so that they could all wish me goodbye. I'm hoping to pick up my reading when I get back in September, but by then this class will have moved on to Year 3, and it will be a whole different set of kids. It's enough to bring a bit of a lump to anyone's throat, and I was actually sad to leave them.
I'm going to miss my Wednesday mornings with them. I'm not in any great hurry to have kids of my own, but I do find it so rewarding spending just that hour every week listening to them read to me and hopefully helping them share the love for reading that I picked up when I was about their age.
It's the most useful hour of my working week, anyway. Whatever else my work does wrong, allowing me to spend my time doing this is something that they definitely get right.
I'm a soft bugger really.