Okay, so teaching seemed great these last few years in this school with one class/grade. Behavior was finally good, I had implemented more fun ideas, and they seemed to be learning more. This year I kicked it up a notch and did some more exciting lessons, and the result??? The excitement seemed to be gone in the students--something was going on. It didn't take long to see what it was. Last year (4th grade for these students), they had the most popular teacher in the school. When she let them know she was leaving, they all cried and threw the largest going away surprise party. Some wrote this year, that was the most fun moment of their life. This teacher was also a friend of mine, so I know her well. She is incredibly kind, helpful, soft-spoken, a good listener, and very "motherly". She did a few fun activities with them, but not a lot...mostly from the book. She never ate lunch with them or did much outside the classroom with them except a fun field trip that they enjoyed. Academically she was about average--challenged them a little bit, but not a lot. I tell you these details as possibly they might help. About me. I have taught 20 years, like to challenge the students, do fun activities, and I am a bit more strict than she is. Being a guy no one would call me "motherly". Now, I have had the students for over a quarter. I have never done more science experiments, fun projects, and other activities. Last year's group absolutely loved school and the projects we did. They didn't get to do as much as we are doing this year. I know this year's group enjoys them as they complained the Monday we didn't do a Science experiment. So what is the problem? My students this year can not talk about how they miss last year's teacher. I had her stop by one time after school, thinking that might help (end of September). The children went crazy and many were crying with joy. While I thought this might help, it didn't--nothing changed. Many of the students--especially the girls act depressed, and when we do writing they just write about how they miss this teacher. I thought this problem would eventually blow over and so I haven't worried about it too much. Fifth graders are often an open group with their opinions, but they don't complain about anything I'm doing. They just miss this teacher, which I can understand. Not sure what to do--is this something that I should just ignore and forget about? My concern is that it seems to be effecting their enjoying 5th grade and doing quality work. They are awesome about getting their homework done (same story last year) and they complete assignments in class. I had parent teacher conferences--100% of the parents showed up and said that everything is great, and they had no complaints. When I talk to a colleague she says I'm doing fun activities with them, and not to worry about it. I don't think they always need to enjoy school, but this sadness...well it's new to me and I am not sure if ignoring the issue is best. I am interested in your thoughts and suggestions. Should I ignore it or is there something that might help them?