This Time of Year

I’ve read a lot of other educators’ posts and articles about “this time of year” – reminders to keep structure and rules; folks wishing and dreaming for the lazy days of summer (I think that’s what they were wishing for); and ways to get through the remainder of days without much “pain”. That’s not what this post is about. It’s about the hardness of this time of year….but not because of what you might think. It’s not about my seniors’ behavior, or lack of motivation. So what is it about you’re saying?

It’s about how sad I get this time of year. We have worked so hard at building a community and how amazing it is to see my kids working, talking, and being together. I get so sad thinking that in a few weeks many of my students will be gone due to graduation and then a few weeks after that the classroom will be empty of all students. I get sad when I think about the journey some of my students’ and I have been on over the course of years. I get sad thinking that next year they won’t be around. I get sad thinking about the family that we’ve become will separate and grow apart.

And what do I do about all this sadness? I embrace it. My kids are quite familiar with “my feelings” and actually are ok with me being me. I embrace the tears that come in the middle of an amazing conversation with my AP kids as they packed their portfolios. I embrace the sadness when I watch the seniors remind the freshman that they have to push on until the end of the year. I stand tall when I see them sharing their work to each other, instead of me.

I also make a fair amount of jokes about being in my feelings and “in the bag” (as they say I am in regards to emotions), which eases their own insecurities about the feelings that are swirling around. Transitions are hard and so often we don’t talk about them in a transparent way. We don’t say that summer is hard without structure; we don’t say that graduation is exciting, but so scary because high school was so familiar; we don’t say that this group of people will never be together again in this same configuration – why don’t we say those things? I’m trying to say some of those things about myself to kids because those are real things for me and I don’t assume that truth for others, but it might be true for some.

I see the work that my kids have done and I know that I am so lucky to be in their lives for a tiny fraction of their life. And maybe, it’s not sadness I feel, but pride. I am so proud of their growth. I am so proud of where they have come and where they have reached and where they will go.

How do you embrace the now?

1 thought on “This Time of Year

  1. (Sigh) We all need to become more tolerant, sharing and showing complicated feelings and giving ourselves and each other “room to be” with feelings without necessarily taking other folks feelings on as our own, or as personall affronts. I’m glad that as you’re teaching and encouraging kids’ self-expression, you’re also modeling handling and working with difficult emotions (artists’ work though by no means exclusively.) My life’s work seems to be about transitions and I’ve learned they’re more powerful & less painful if I never really say “good bye,” this thing is over, I’ll never see this person again/ feel and be affected by their “presence.” It’s a state of consistent but not constant mourning but also delight and surprise as paths cross and there are intersections all over the place. And greater and deeper understanding as truths slowly come into focus. It’s odd to me we’re ever taught that “tell the truth” is supposed to be simple.

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