End of term is
a bittersweet time for teachers. After all the work, the final tests,
the meetings with each student to deliver marks, and the last late
assignments, it can feel like a bit of a letdown. Teaching is an
intensely personal profession, one that brings me into contact with
many different people. Some are at mid-life and searching for something
new; others are just starting out, wide eyed and enthusiastic.
Together, the students and I make (for better or worse) a classroom
and, with some luck, a safe and accepting space to learn.
This past semester has been a treat I must say. There were tears as
students relived intensely difficult moments from their term ending
memoirs, both as an audience to their peers and as writers trying to
convey moments that, to us here in relatively safe Canada, we can only
imagine with horror. There was laughter, too, and there were hugs
offered and received.
Yesterday, as I met with each student in my classroom to deliver the
good (and the not so good) news to them, I was glad to overhear a happy
buzz in the hallway. The students there waited for their turns by
continuing a conversation that had begun last September. Sometimes, I
heard a cheer as a student was recognized by classmates for a mark
gained with hard work and determination.
Now, my job is done. For teachers, this marks the leap of faith we must
all feel as students depart, perhaps a little wiser, to make something
more of their lives. That is, regretfully, where we step back from
those we have helped to grow. Like gardeners, we know that we’ve done
our best, and now we must begin again. A new season, a new semester is
coming along soon, and there is much to do to get ready!