Friday, June 3, 2011

Week 33: The Perfect Moment

Every year I’ve been a student in school I get to this point in the Spring where everything seems perfect. I know my way around the school, I know how to deal with my teachers and my social group feels like it couldn’t get any better. It always seems as soon as I get to this feeling the school year ends and then I have to restart at the beginning of the year building back up to the point of contentment.
Now as a teacher I have a similar feeling towards the end of the year, but what’s different is that its' my students who create this feeling inside of me.

Many teachers enjoy the beginning of the year. There is the excitement of getting to know new kids, reestablishing ways of working and a excitement and energy that is in the year full of possibilities. The hard part of the beginning of the year is not knowing the kids and that’s why the Spring is so special for me.  And now that I really feel like I know my students the year is ending.

As a music teacher, I am fortunate that I get to see my kids develop over multiple years. Currently I teach 3rd, 5th, 6th, 7th and 8th grades (the three top grades, I team teach). While there is comfort in working with the many of the same kids next year, they aren’t really going to be the same kids.

Much of what characterizes the way students behave are the classes they are in, the dynamics of their schedule and most importantly the developmental stages they are working through. This requires that even with a group of kids that I have worked with previously, I need to approach them like a brand new group of kids establishing what I mean to them in a different stage of their lives.

Here’s the thing, I’m not really sure how to do this, but I know it has to be done. Many positive things I have established with my students will carry over, but some things will not. It’s not about assuming the worst out of your kids. It’s about being realistic and conscientious about the students’ needs. In the same way that you want to give a student a fresh start who previously had a bad year, a students who is excelling needs to have a clean slate, another chance to redefine him or herself.

Endings bring meaning to things in our lives and the cycle of the school year marks the passage of the time like the seasons. Knowing that things are finite stop us in our daily lives to cherish the moments that we have left.  So maybe it’s not so much that I hit moments when everything is perfect in the school, maybe it’s knowing that the ending is coming makes me realize how great things have become.

Either way, things feel pretty awesome as I enter my final week at school. Yes, I am sad that the year is ending but I’m also feel happy about that feeling knowing that I only feel this way because of how great this year has been.

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