Truth be told, I can be a stellar procrastinator. Each year, I have some large job that is still waiting to get checked off the list during the early preparation hours on the last day of school. Not this year. By yesterday afternoon, final sentiments were in order, remote learning reports were downloaded, final e-mails were scheduled, all tabs loaded for our final class chat. Physical materials in order – check. Emotionally ready? Not so much. My mind was churning into the midnight hour.
I. cry. every. year. It’s part of who I am as a human. It’s part of who I am as a teacher. Each year, my tears are complicated — a mourning of having to let go, an expression of celebration as my students begin their step up to middle school, a release of stress. I feel sad. I feel proud. I feel relieved. I. cry. every. year. This year, I cry my bittersweet tears for:
- My student who battled and beat cancer.
- The beautiful celebration of writing in our online space.
- Time lost to further support social-emotional needs.
- The reading lives that transformed within our classroom.
- Having to wave goodbye from my computer screen.
This morning, students and their families gathered together in their children’s bedrooms, on their couches, or at their kitchen tables. We came together to reminisce, and I reiterated these words that I wrote to parents as part of my Valentine’s Day e-mail:
“I’ve been thinking about how challenging teaching and learning is. More importantly, I’ve really been thinking about everything a classroom community endures together: We make mistakes. We problem solve. We apologize. We celebrate growth. We get frustrated. We get off track. We reset together. We help each other. We learn. We laugh. We cry. We talk about the tough stuff. We love. We persevere.“
These words do not just describe a classroom community. They define a family. I am proud of “The 4Q Fam” for all that we’ve accomplished this year, despite the unimaginable circumstances. My tears have flowed. My air hugs have been sent. My hand has waved farewell. I am tired, yet my heart is full. It is time to celebrate and recharge.