Well, we closed the book on the 2010-2011 school year today. My 16th year of teaching. (Could have been my 19th, except for grad school and two years working for the church.) That's a lot of years and a lot of students. Every year is different--whether it is a change of grade level, new curriculum materials, the variety of student needs. Yet each year is comfortingly the same in some ways too--the rhythm of the academic year, favorite stories or skills to teach, the look of "Ohhhhh, now I get it!" when in fact, they really do get it! This year was no exception. While there have been outside pressures and worries about student achievement and new testing and pay for performance and closing schools that were never far from my mind, I tended to just go in my classroom, close the door, and do what I know how to do, which is to teach my children to read and write and do math, conduct science labs, explore social studies concepts, and try to instill a sense of responsibility and compassion and kindness in each of my students.
The end of the school year always leaves me feeling a little let down. It comes at a point where I finally begin to see the changes that have really taken place and I just want to take them farther before sending them on to the next grade. But I can't. It's time to say good-bye. And hope they don't lose that spark of knowledge and understanding over the next 10 weeks.
Now the clock is ticking towards August 25th, when we will welcome the big yellow buses back on campus and greet our students and the cycle will begin anew. The time between now and then will pass quickly. There are inservices to attend, preparations to be made, vacations to be taken, pools for swimming in, books to be read, lazy evenings to be enjoyed, movies to be watched, games to be played.
The end just brings another beginning...let summer vacation begin!