Well, another end of the school year has come and gone . . .
The room is packed up tight, desks stacked in the corner, chairs tower over them. My workspace is wiped clean - no papers, no clips, no books scattered about. The plants are gone, the printer sits quietly in the corner. The cords are unplugged, the colorful messages packed away.
I dislike the end of the year.
It's not that I don't enjoy summer - I do. I love lazy mornings, having time to write, being with my kids. I love the pool, spur of the moment activities, seeing family. I love reading, thinking, dreaming, getting organized. I embrace this time every year. It's a time to see things with fresh eyes.
But I miss my students.
I was laughing the other day -- being a little dramatic as usual. In the office I was saying, "You give them to me for 200 days, tell me to care about them, encourage them, make them love reading, writing, and engaging in their learning; then you rip them from me and send them off to find their life." It was dramatic - done for effect - but in my heart, I miss them.
Sometimes I think a teacher may be the only person who really understands. Now I celebrate from afar - most are at the high school across the football fields and parking lots. I look at it every morning during our moment of silence and think of them before during back to the new ones in my charge. I hope that they will find successes through challenges; that they will love and engage in what they are learning; that they will carve out a unique life path that will fit.
I still miss them.
So the end of the year brings some sadness with it. It's a time of letting go and trusting. Trusting that the seeds were planted in fertile minds, trusting that lessons will echo, trusting that it's really not about what I did anyway. I was there to help, encourage, and care . . . but the hard work was done by the student.
So I step back. I smile. I face a new group and care - knowing that the end of the year will come again. It's worth it.