We have about a month of school left. I am worn out from a long and stressful year. The weather is getting warmer and sunny (rare during Michigan winters). Kids are getting more restless and active. Everyone knows that we are pretty much down to the end and the pressure is on to make sure that we “cover all of the content” required by the syllabus, district, or curriculum office. Every Friday I am exhausted and ready for the weekend.
I too am feeling the pressure of the end of the year, but in a different way. I feel like I am still learning to know my students and I only have limited time to engage them on a deep level. The seniors (which I no longer teach) are thinking about grad parties and college choices. This is my last month of having my students in class daily and getting to know their hopes and dreams. I have limited time to hear their jokes, listen to stories about their plays, music performances, and games. Time is slipping away from me being there to hear about students’ struggles with family issues, friendship problems, or personal dilemmas.
I think about the students that I don’t know as well as I would like to because they are quiet or closed off. I think about the girl who has a hard shell around her keeping out anyone from seeing her deep pain. I think about the boy who thinks that no one really understands what his home life is like. So many students with so many dreams, yet also so much personal pain and struggles.
I want to finish the year strong. To me that means lots of listening, caring, and connecting. To me that means pushing my students to love themselves and each other. Our last project focuses on poverty through the lens of the Great Depression. I want my students to care about the less fortunate and be empathetic.
I will end the year by concentrating on connecting with students personally.
I will end the year by speaking encouraging words daily.
I will end the year by challenging students to consider the less fortunate.
I am tired. I am ready for a break, but my students still need my best.
I will end the year with love. I will show students how to love each other. I will leave my students with a message of hope and love for all.
We are going to cram in as much caring this month as we can…