I imagine it's difficult for all humans to understand time as a concept. I do not feel like the year is over. How and when did it end?
As I was reflecting on the year at home Wednesday night, I had the thought that the end of the school year is so much like a Junior High break up. How appropriate that I teach Junior High.
I remembered the thought toward the end of the school day yesterday, and shared it with my last class. I talked about how weird it is that we've spent all this time together, we were around each other everyday. Generally speaking, we really liked each other, but at times I annoy the class and they annoy me.
I mentioned that things would never be the same between us. They'd get awkward. Next year as 8th graders they might see me in the hall, maybe we'd high five. Maybe they'd ask how Gandhi's doing. (He's still dead...) But we'd both know things aren't the same.
I told my class, "it's not you, it's me." And they asked me if there was someone else. I told them, well... yes... There's a group of 6th graders that's*
And the class cut me off: "SO YOU'RE TRADING US IN FOR SOMEONE YOUNGER?!?!?!" (I kid you not, 7th hour really did say this...)
I hemmed and hawed for a while, but admitted it was true. I apologized, but I think they were too upset at the moment to accept.
And lets be honest. It's not me. It's you. We've both changed, but you're the ones who are moving on. If we're being honest, it's this 7th grade class that's breaking up with me.
At any rate, it's not a perfect analogy.
As all endings are, yesterday was a time of reflection. As a teacher, I think that's one thing many teachers don't do well enough (myself included...) We're so focused on doing, that we leave little time to sit, and think, and reflect. It's always go, go, go.
That's been one of the benefits of the blog - it's good for the students, but it's also good for me. I get a chance to sit down and think about how the day went. What we did, what went well, what didn't...
And so, we reflected on the year. But we also thought about the future. Every year I make 5 goals for the summer and 5 goals for the next school year. I also make a 5 year goal and a 10 year goal. We discuss keeping the goals attainable - yet not too attainable. I tried to talk them into choosing goals that make them into the person they want to be. (So we discussed academic goals, athletic goals, relational goals - helping out around the house, etc...)
They didn't have to write any, but many students did. If they wrote them, I encouraged them to put them somewhere they can be seen. I keep mine on the side of the fridge. They're not in a very prominent spot, but one that I see everyday. Every once in a while I look at them and it reminds me of where I want to be going, and it helps me regain my focus.
If you didn't write any, it's not too late.
Here are my goals from last year - in case you're interested:
I've got to finish cleaning my classroom. Thanks for a great year. If you're ever wondering what's going on, feel free to leave a comment.
If you're reading and discussing the blog for extra credit... seriously... you probably have enough.