I’ve been in the worst mood the past few days, feeling really sad and alone and out of sorts. The same thing struck me last year at about this time, and thankfully I can be a little bit more aware of what it is. I really think that most people picture teachers celebrating at the end of the school year, completely delighted to be free of the classroom. And while there will undoubtedly be a glass of wine raised in honor of not having to hear the beckoning of the alarm each morning at 5:50 am and I am looking forward to the summer, I still feel incredibly sad and overwhelmed at the end of the school year.
There is the obvious: I will miss my kids. This year is extra special because I taught 7th grade last year, and 8th grade this year, meaning that I’ve had some of these kids for 2 years. I’ve watched them transform from wily, squirrelly, scared 7th graders to fairly mature young adults, ready for the freedom of high school. These are my first kids. The first class I learned with and loved, and laughed with. When you spend 5 days a week someone (or 103 someones) you get attached; or at least I do. It makes me sad that not only will I not see them in class again, they’ll be moving on to high school and won’t be around every day. I wonder what sort of kids will fill my classroom next year. Will they fill my room immediately after getting off the bus, the way a group of girls does this year? Will they be as funny and creative? What if we just don’t mesh the way I have with this group?
The other sadness is one that sounds overdramatic, but is something I still feel: I didn’t have enough time. I find myself regretting all of those grumpy days, or meetings I had to rush to, or the days when I just couldn’t stay for a soccer or basketball game. I think of all of the projects I dreamed about, and the things I wanted to teach them. And the truth is, there just isn’t enough time to invest in them. I’m really looking forward to the graded portion of our time together being done so that we can just hang out and enjoy the week together. I’ve planned some fun closure activities for them to reflect on their time and set goals for the year ahead. I think it will be really special.
The other sadness of this is one having very little to do with kids. As much as I hate grading and having every single second of my life planned out, I miss having a reason to get up every day, making summer a little bit sad. A place to be where I am needed and central to the success of 103 people who depend on me being there. Last summer was really rough for me, emotionally, so I’m trying to prepare for it a little more this summer, by making a list of things I want to do. Obviously, living with Andrew makes it a million times easier because I won’t be so alone, but still…it really is a hard transition. And as a person who has a history of struggling with just enjoying the moment, I’m making that my goal for the summer. To sit back, to relax and to just enjoy the 9 weeks of free time I have. Yes, I want and need to be productive, but I’m also hoping for lots of afternoon naps and lazy days spent with my favorite people.
This, combined with the possibility that 16 of our teachers may not come back next year due to budget cuts, something I can’t blog about without bawling, makes this upcoming week so bitter sweet. Yes, there is freedom at the end, but ugh. It’s gonna be rough. Truth be told, I just want to make it through the week. I have the joy of promoting my kids–reading their names and offering a personal anecdote at the ceremony, and I really need to practice. Because right now, all I can do is that really, really ugly cry when I start trying to read their names and say anything nice. I just blubber. And that’s the last thing I want them to remember: Miss E totally losing her mind when I graduate them.