Vickie stands out on the curb with Mr. Carisi and Miss Rollins and waves at all the school buses and cars leaving the parking lot. All three of them have tears in their eyes as their high school students leave for the summer. The seniors aren’t coming back.
“I never thought it would be so hard,” Vickie says jaggedly, the words almost sticking in her throat.
“It always is,” Mr. Carisi says and gives her a side hug. He’s got so many emotions written on his face as he looks down at her, the student teacher he had mentored for the last five months.
Miss Rollins strokes her forearm gently and says, “It’s so hard to see them go isn’t it?”
“Yeah,” Vickie agrees. “But it was such a hard semester, I never expected it to be this way.”
“Oh hon,” Miss Rollins says and envelops her in a comforting hug when she breaks down and cries. But she doesn’t want to do that for too long. She pulls away and wipes at her eyes, embarrassed.
“Now I feel stupid.”
“Nah,” Mr. Carisi says. “You’re fine. That’s normal. Check out Mrs. Perkins over there.”
He points at one of the math teachers, who’s surrounded by kids that adore her, kids who will miss her. And she’s practically bawling as she says goodbye to each and every one of them. Vickie wishes she had that. That she had touched at least one student.
“Hey, Miss Dahl!” Martina Flores rushes up to her and unexpectedly gives her a quick hug. “Thanks for being so nice to me. See you next year!”
Martina then turns and glares at Mr. Carisi before running back to join her friends waiting to board one of the buses. He just chuckles. He always seems to roll with the punches so well.
“She still hates you, huh?” Miss Rollins jibes him, knocking him in the side with her elbow.
He lets out a little ‘oof’ in response, ducking away from her. Then he beams a bright smile. “I’ll win her over. I’ve still got a couple of years left.”
Vickie knows that he won’t - knows why Martina will forever hate him. At least she had been able to help one kid out, be the trusted adult in her life, someone she could talk to, a shoulder to cry on.
“See?” Mr. Carisi says to her, practically reading her mind. “You’ll be fine out there in the big wide world, even if Principal Barba doesn’t hire you. But I know he will. Despite what you think Vickie, the kids don’t hate you - and your classroom management will improve with time and practice, you’ll see.”
He claps her on the back and beams down at her. Always the optimist. “Look, you were able to reach Martina. No one had been able to do that before you got here. You’re something special. I have faith in you.”
“So do I,” says Miss Rollins.
Vickie looks at both of them. They have such confidence in her abilities that it almost makes her trust their assessment.
“Thank you,” she says.
They all turn back and continue waving goodbye to their pupils, who are blissfully leaving it all behind for the summer. And leaving them behind.
“Aw, come on now, ‘Manda. Not you, too.” Vickie sees Mr. Carisi give Miss Rollins a side hug as she tears up a little, forgetting to call her by her “teacher name” even though there are still students about. But then, he would often get pretty familiar with Principal Barba too, even though that always seemed to irk him - especially if there was even a remote chance that kids were about.
Vickie notices that Mr. Carisi doesn’t let go of Miss Rollins like he had her and once again she feels that familiar jealousy creep up. She had been ‘hot for teacher’ all semester. It was embarrassing. Especially since Mr. Carisi probably knew exactly how she felt about him. He had always seen through her so easily - ever since she arrived that first day at 16 Peyton Place and walked into his classroom.