Today is the last day of the school year. The room is bare, ready to sparkle for next year’s students, but devoid of the kid-friendly charm that greeted us every day since September. Desks are empty, closets are packed, computers are prepared for a two month respite. What was once our classroom is now just another room.
Yet, it is not the room that makes the class, but the people. The last few days have been relaxed in some ways, apprehensive in others. Not every child is thrilled to be moving on.
Indeed, some of mine have been with me for two years, and they are anxious about moving on to fourth grade with a new teacher. Gone is the security they had with me. Waiting for them is the next adventure.
Lately, the shyest ones are the most vocal. The most hardened are suddenly soft. There have been a lot of “I’m going to miss yous” going around. I try to reassure the kids that, yes, I will be in the same room next year. Yes, I will visit you and you can visit me. Yes, you can come play with the ocean animals.
But I also try to make them believe they are ready for the next step. I remind them that they were in one place early in the year and grew in many ways to where they are now.
I hope I’ve given them the tools for being successful. I read one of my favorite books to them yesterday, “Oh, The Places You’ll Go!” At the end, one of my girls asked, “But what are we supposed to do when someone says, ‘You’re dumb,’ or, ‘You can’t do it,’?” I told her she needs to show those people they’re wrong. I said, “When this year started, I know a lot of people looked at this class’ reading and math and said, ‘Oh, they can’t do it.’ But look at where you are now. You showed you can do it.”
And so it goes that another year’s book is sealed. Summer beckons, and we embrace it with open arms, but not without first taking time to reflect upon the last 10 wonderful months and the exciting challenges that another year will eventually bring.