You see, our school is almost out for the summer. My classroom needed some "pre-purging" on Saturday, and I needed to prep more than usual for this week's classes. It gets a little complicated the last week of school. Not grades, really, more with students needing my time and attention...and assurances.
Let me explain. I teach sixth grade in a middle school. Contrary to what you may have heard about students in this age range, they are a joy to teach if your heart has a calling for these precious and awkward children stuck in those "tween" years. My heart doesn't just have a calling, it has a solid commitment and love for these students. On my worst day, I love my students and love what I do! The day I don't feel that way, I'll quit...because they deserve better.
The reason they need more of my time and attention this week? For all their hoopla about summer vacation almost being here, they begin to worry about leaving me behind. They have already started getting a little long in the face, hugging me more than usual, smiling sad smiles, drawing me more pictures, and writing me notes. It is all very touching, and I love them for it.
This happens every year, and I know it's coming, so...I do my best to prepare to be more available to them. This isn't a time to need to do last minute grades or rush them through something or be too busy to stop in the hallway. No. This isn't an ordinary week for them. They need me to help them through the process of letting go and help them know they'll do great when they move on.
There is so much teachers do outside of actually teaching and grading and lesson planning. We have our ear to the ground and our finger on the pulse of our community of children...always. It's important. They are important.
I am sad that my time is over with this group of young people, but I love that I get the pleasure of watching them continue to grow in seventh and eighth grade. I'll get to pass them in the hallway next school year, share a smile now and then, cheer them on as they branch out into different interests and areas along the way, and - yes - I will always ask how they're doing, and if they're keeping their grades up. What can I say? Once their teacher, always their teacher. ;)
By the way, my students are unaware I am teaching them lessons in how to let go...
and, every year, I am very aware that my heart never does.