Tuesday, June 16, 2020

End of School Year Emotions

The final days of the school year are the ribbon on the gift
that the year in its entirety has been. 
Yesterday was an emotional day as I considered many, many reactions to the end of the school year. The end of each school year is filled with a myriad of emotions, and this year is filled with even more due to the unpredictable and unprecedented times that we're in.

I tend to be one of those people who feels others' emotions deeply--like a weighted vest, those emotions were heavy on my mind and spirit yesterday afternoon. Fortunately a good night's sleep helped me to think about the emotions and where to place them.

Changing Roles
For some teachers, the end of the year marks ending their tenure as teachers, moving to new roles, or even the unknown with regard to their roles for next year. These changes evoke multiple emotions.

Celebration Perspectives
Since traditions of old are not possible this year, there are multiple perspectives about how to replace those traditions. This variability evokes emotion. As one teacher remarked, big changes bring big emotions.

Student Worries
While most of our students will move forward with peace and happiness, there's always a few that you worry about. We've done what we could for those students--we pushed ahead even when uncomfortable to help create a positive path ahead for each child. Yet, there's always a bit of worry left.

At the end of the year, many teachers like me tend to assess the year. I would say that this year overall was very successful--despite the pandemic, we taught all that we planned to teach and we reached out to teach each and every child with care and attention. But, as with every year, there was new learning and a few regrets. I'll translate those regrets into some new teaching/learning routines for next year as I do every year.

We always push hard all year, but we push especially hard at the end of the year to complete signature projects and special events. We can do that because we know there's a reprieve right around the corner. That leaves us somewhat saturated.

We like our students. We have enjoyed teaching them all year. Good-bye's are always both exciting because they are moving on to an exciting new Middle School adventure and emotional because we will miss these wonderful children.

Knowing that these emotions are a natural part of the school year end is positive. And staying the course to make the final days meaningful, positive, sensitive, and celebratory is important too. It's time to embrace a manageable end-of-year schedule, the kind of schedule that puts the ribbon on an overall wonderful year of fifth grade teaching and learning.