Tuesday, June 21, 2016

The Last Week of School #SOL!6


Goodbyes hang in the air when it's the last week of school. The rip of tape being pulled from the wall echoes as pictures and displays come down, revealing bare walls. Notebooks are stuffed in backpacks, unused workbooks are debated- should they be sent home or thrown out? All the places where students' names hung, showing their partnerships, or their writing, or their class jobs- all of these are taken down. No more names now. 

Some of the children are like puppies inside a gate, just waiting for the lock to be opened and to run with the freedom of summer. Not all children. Some feel a sadness and worry that school is ending, the structure, the stability, the knowledge that breakfast and lunch appear each day. 

We bring to a conclusion a year full of learning. Sometimes with a test and not much else. Sometimes with a celebration, bagels and books and numbers held high showing how much reading happened. 

When it's the last week of school, it's your last time to live in that classroom as a community. They will go to different classes for fourth grade and will not be together, in this way, under these conditions. I want them to know they were appreciated, known. I want them to know I believe in them and wish them success and happiness. Goodbyes are hard. 

I write them a last letter, to place inside their Summer Writing Notebook. I share the lessons we learned from our read alouds, from characters like Ivan (The One and Only Ivan), Ally (Fish in a Tree), and Melody (Out of My Mind). 

I think of all the ways I could have done better, all the things I need to improve. I tell myself I taught with my full heart and tried my best, but I know my best can always be better. Summer is the opportunity to read more and learn more, think more and plan to improve. But for now, I sort my books, file the paperwork, seal the report cards, and close the door on another year of being a teacher.