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A letter to my ASM families

Dear Families,

After seven and a half years at ASM, I'm off to a new job at a public school, teaching music to children in kindergarten through third grade. This is a good thing for me, my family, and (God willing) my new school, but it will also be good for ASM. I've built a strong culture of singing, movement, literacy, and dance at your school, and I'm very proud of what we've accomplished together. I'm honored to have been your teacher. It was a pleasure and a privilege, but now, I have to go.

There are many reasons for my departure, but chief among them was my health and my family's well-being. The commute from Taunton was brutal. That time is needed for walks or bike rides or other activity. I got a Fitbit with the help of PACE's end-of-year gift, and I think of you every time I put it on. Thanks.

I have a vision of myself as an old lady, puttering around the mud flats of Cape Cod when a deep and unfamiliar voice calls, "Mrs. GG!" I look up, way up, into the eyes of a boy I remember from Children's House. "I'm Little Rohan," he says, and I instantly look down to the Children's-House-age boy and girl who are squatting and picking up hermit crabs in the pool behind their father. They squat like he did, have that same, inquisitive look, the same squeal of delight when they find an especially feisty crab (just like their father when he used to find worms) and I smile.

"Do you sing to them, Rohan?" I ask.
"Every day."
And my eyes well with tears.

A teacher loves and laughs with her students, showing them how to do this or that but never knowing what will stick long-term. She prays that the seeds she planted will be nurtured by others and by the experiences of a lifetime, culminating in an adult person who loves music and sings unashamedly. But out of the thousands I will teach, only a handful will ever show me what I did like "Little Rohan" in the mudflats. I send you out into the world to sing and play. Please do that, not for me, but for the world. It needs music, and it really needs YOU!

Your next music teacher will be fantastic. He or she will be awesome in their own way, a way different from me, but a way you need and can benefit from. Accept them with an open heart and willing spirit. Both Mrs. Burns and Mrs. Orlowitz have asked me about curriculum in order to make this transition smooth. They know I am available to help the new person in any way I can. They offered me congratulations and best wishes for which I am deeply appreciative. I have every confidence that your new teacher will be excellent.

I am also confident that the students will demonstrate grace, courtesy, and some great musical skills when they meet their new teacher. The inherent kindness of ASM students is what made me want the position back in 2007. I remember teaching my sample lesson. One of the students, I think it was the eldest Mazser, noticed that I had a dry cough, and she got me a cup of water without my asking. In fact, she was one of several students who naturally rose to meet that need. I was stunned. Show that caring to everyone you meet, not just your new teacher. It's a good quality. Even in adulthood, never outgrow it!

So there it is. I plan to attend Middle School graduation at ASM next June, but I'm off to Cape Cod. I love you, and I will miss you. In the words of the class of 2015, "So long, farewell, auf weidersehen, good-bye. I flit. I float. I fleetly flit, I fly."

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