A shout out to the folks over at Two Writing Teachers who host this meme and give the rest of us the opportunity to take a slice out of our lives and share our experiences and ideas.
Last week, a mere eight days ago, I wrote about not being ready for school to end. In Resisting the Rush to the Finish Line, I was appreciating the students' need to hold onto this school year and feeling grateful for it, as their need matched my own.
What a difference a day, well week in this case, makes. The students and I are still fully engaged in this school year, but I am also sensing a subtle disturbance in the force. The day after writing that post I worked with fourth graders on a biography/Haiku project. The students were engaged and worked hard, but little chinks in our learning environment started to show. The students are becoming more easily distracted and more socially-oriented. Talk of afternoons at the lake and summer plans is becoming more prevalent.
Reflecting back on last week's post, it suddenly seemed clear, the students are needing to force a break in their relationship to this school year. Like me, they are having a hard time letting go, but like children going off to college, they are needing to test the limits a bit in order to accept the change. By being slightly less engaged and breaking from traditional behaviors, they are reminding me that they are at once, both afraid and excited about what lies ahead. Letting go of a school year, the communities established in classrooms, the connections to teachers, and involvement in activities is scary, but also inevitable. Like a pendulum that needs to swing before it finds balance again, we are experiencing a necessary outward swing, a shift in the equilibrium that is allowing us to accept the change. We still have thirteen days left and I still have two big projects to finish with fourth graders, but then we'll be talking summer reading and saying our goodbyes. Ready or not, that finish line is coming, and I think we'll be ready.