My principal started the unfortunate habit of announcing how many days are left in the school year every time she has the mic or spoken to a large group since the 3rd quarter award assembly. It's okay of course, she's not really telling the kids anything that they don't really know. The students have been watching the calendar pretty closely since we got back from Spring Break. The unfortunate part of the amplified countdowns came when she got to "13 days left". I wasn't prepared to hear that number out loud.
For some time now, I had been working towards the end of the year. Not looking forward to the end of the year, but working on tasks like signing up for testing & end of year assessments, IEP renewal meetings, student slotting, student recognition preparation, textbook return signup, etc. The to-do list isn't getting any shorter, but the timeline for getting things accomplished is narrowing. The stress and pressure really feels like the holidays, without the joy.
I've felt the kids pulling away for a little while now, although nothing major. I think they're really enjoying what they're working on. We've got some nice language arts projects, no tests scheduled in math (I think we've had enough tests, thank you), and the science investigations are engaging and really quite fun. However, subtle signs of their 'checking out' have been popping up with greater frequency and volume. A little slower making transitions, a little louder in the hall, a little more chatty in class, a little less focused. I understand those feelings, but I'm not ready to let them go yet.
I'm not ready to start disconnecting myself from the kids that I have spent the last 10 months with. Last night I finished my year end hand-written letters, 72 in all, to my
6th Graders. I wanted to tell them what they have meant to me and what I
have learned about them during our school year together. Some of the
letters were hard to write, because with a few, I just wasn't the right
6th grade teacher for them. I never quite connected as solidly as I
would preferred. I failed to motivate or inspire some. For
those students, maybe especially for those kids, my hope for
their future is high. I told them that I hope they can find someone who
can 'unlock' or connect with them, so that they can realize their
potential, and that "I believed in them."
The letters that were easy to write were to the kids that I have grown to know very well. It was easy to share some memories and tell them that, "you have greatness inside you, work hard to bring it out." Some of them will be memorable for quite a while and I wanted to thank them.
These darn kids reach into your heart and grab a piece of it without you really knowing it. Until they start letting go. My natural inclination, when coming to the natural end of something is to start putting some distance between myself and whatever will be ending. That's easy to do with projects, not so easy to do with people.
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