Another school year is winding down, as our kids completed fourth and second grades this week.
As is the case each year, there’s mixed emotions about school wrapping up.
In general, both Beckett, 10, and Carson, 8, had great school years. Specifically, each had different challenges to face at their schools and we are proud of what they accomplished.
Beckett learned about the importance of working hard and giving maximum effort all the time. Without question, school is getting more challenging and he knows now without trying his best the results will be disappointing.
There were several times during the year we let him be independent. We wanted to see how he did without us nagging him about bringing his reading binder home or being sure to complete his spelling packet before the night it was due. We relaxed on the micro-parenting.
The result was he fell hard a few times and clearly learned he is responsible for how he does in school. It was a year when he got his worst test scores of his career, but he always managed to pull his grade up to acceptable levels on his report cards. School was taken up a notch this year for him and I think he learned there’s no way he’s going to get an A in a class anymore without putting in the work. It’s a valuable lesson for him moving forward.
For Carson, it was a year of growth and progress. We don’t measure success for him with grades, although he made Honor Roll three out of the four terms for his academic achievement. For our special needs son, it’s more about fitting in with his peers, improving his behavior and decision making and learning at an acceptable level. He did that this year.
The biggest blessing this year were our kids’ teachers. These people become family. We have daily relationships with them and enjoy the direct communication with them about our children. We are grateful and will miss each of them as we move beyond school and into the summer. We will never forget them.
Neither of our kids are cruise control kids. They need to be monitored and the thumb needs to always be applied so they know we are engaged with what they are doing on a daily basis. It’s exhausting at times.
Some days I wish they were easier and more self-motivated to do their best without us harping on them. However, it’s tremendously rewarding when they do well because it comes with hard work from their parents and them as well as their teachers in many cases.
In my opinion, there’s nothing more important in education than the teachers in the classrooms. They can be life changers and both kids were blessed with these kinds of teachers this year.
I often wonder how teachers approach the end of the school year. I remember Beckett’s first grade teacher remarking once on the last day of school that each of her students walks away with a piece of her heart when they leave her for the last time in the spring. I like to think that’s how all teachers feel.
In a recent Huffington Post column, middle school teacher Amy Bozza wrote about similar feelings. A portion of her article I thought was fitting to feature this week.
There seems to be an assumption that teachers can’t kick the kids out the door fast enough when the end of June rolls around.
There seems to be an assumption that we wait all year for that last day of school to say “Goodbye, See Ya, Don’t Let the Door Hit You on the Way Out,” so we can hit the beach.
If people only knew.
The last days of school are an exercise in letting go, saying goodbye, and watching a piece of you walk out of a door.
Which is not to say we aren’t ready for them to go.
We are. Not because we want to be rid of them, but because we know they are ready to move on and that it is time.
They are not the same people they were when they walked into our rooms in the fall.
They are bigger, stronger, smarter, faster, braver, better than they were.
They are more than ready to meet the next challenge ahead of them.
But they’ll do it without us.
But we’re sad at being left and we miss them.
Every single year.
And maybe…just maybe…that’s why I have such a hard time with my own children growing up.
Because I am being outgrown and left every single year.
It is a heartbreak unique to teachers.
The students enter in the fall and you know, already, that they will leave you in the summer.
And you still can’t help but fall in love with them over and over and over again.
I cleaned out my classroom after school today.
I was left with this: An empty room.
A sad room.
Because a classroom without students is a sad place to be.
I just hope that somewhere, deep inside, they will always carry a piece of me with them, because I will always carry a piece of them with me.