Tuesday, May 31, 2011

School's Out

Today was the last day of school for me, 
and I did something I always do 
when the room has been cleaned,
and everything is just so,
and I am literally about to close the door on another year:
I stop and stand in silence, 
looking around at a room in which I did not just teach, but learn,
and I take a moment to appreciate all that transpired there. 

The reaction that follows varies from year to year. 
My first year of teaching, I cried -- oh, I cried -- 
surprised to realize how much I loved my students,
saddened by the fact that I only had a year with them. 
Another year, I put my head down on my desk, exhausted. 
One year I laughed and shook it off, relieved, needing the summer.
This year I smiled, a bit beside myself.  How lucky am I, I thought,
to have known them, even if only for a short while. 
And then my mind went where it always goes: it's not enough. 
I'm not enough. 
I need to try harder. 
I can be a better teacher. 
And then, as always, the thought inevitably dawns,
reenergizing me even with summer yet to officially begin: 
There's always next year. 

Earlier today, the faculty and staff ended the year with a prayer service, 
reflecting on the following verse from 2 Timothy:
"I have competed well; I have finished the race; I have kept the faith." 
The more I think about it, the more I realize that the "race"
is more of a relay, and I have only finished one leg of an ongoing journey. 

Each year, I think about what I have passed forward to my students,
and I wonder what they'll make of it, 
what they will carry with them, what they will pass forward to others. 
Sometimes a selfish question pops into my head: Will they remember me?
In fact, it doesn't really matter if they do or do not, 
as long as I have remembered who I am in the course of their lives,
and I have done my job.  
Reality has to trump sentimentality sometimes. 
Above all, I hope they have learned to be good to each other. 
Sometimes that is the hardest lesson to teach and learn,
as it can be undone so easily,
but I have finished my leg of the race, 
and I need to trust that they know where to go from here. 

Of course...
as schmaltzy and wistful and self-reflective as the last day of school makes me, 
there is the promise of SUMMER to get me supercharged! 
I actually started cleaning my desk tonight,
in the hopes that I'll be messing it up again on a daily basis.  
Summertime is scrappy time, and I loooooove it so.  

I think I'm off to a good start already, 
care of the AMAZINGLY beautiful June JBS kit
(which features the new "Haven" papers),
and the "Atrium" add-on: 

I have a feeling that this is one of those kits,
the kind of kit that makes any page possible,
and I think the gallery proves this!

Here's to the last day of school,
and the first day of summer! 


  1. A beautifully written post Jill... I loved hearing the teacher's perspective :)
    And of course, stunning layouts too! Happy summertime scrapping...we're battening down the hatches tonight for another storm...wanna switch?

  2. Wow - thanks for stopping by my blog and for your comment!

    Love your new LOs too....:D

  3. Great new LOs! I especially like the Mazie LO!

  4. So, so true! As a former kindergarten and preschool teacher, I know exactly what you mean :)
    Beautiful layouts!!

  5. I love your post Jill! Although not a teacher, I do work in a school and it's nice to get that quiet reflection at the end of the year.
    And of course awesome layouts!

  6. congrats on your last day of school, and bless you - it takes someone special to be a teacher.

    The layouts are gorgeous. It may just be one of those months for me to buy a jb kit.

    Thanks for visting my blog today.

  7. What a prefectly written post. From one teacher to another, I can totally relate to what you said. I can not wait until my last day, but I am really going to miss this class...which is what I say every year.

    Love the LO's, as always.

  8. You rock. I imagine that your students remember you fondly. I know I would. I can just tell.

  9. Beautiful words, Jill. I always feel little reminiscent and a tad bittersweet at this time of year. Luckily, the students I get to know stay with me for all three years of middle school.

    And, I love that we have a profession where there is a fresh start every year. We can re-invent ourselves with each new September.

  10. I found your beautiful blog via Pinterest today. Your LO's are really awesome, so playful.

  11. I'm an occasional stalker and I stalk you as much for your "teacher's posts" as I do for your creativity. I love hearing your perspectives on teaching and I love hearing about amazing teachers. Thank you for loving, caring for, and teaching our kids.

  12. Aaw - lovely! Congrats on another great year, I say. :) And your pages are super-cute, too! Enjoy your summer!

  13. Jill, that cannon ball tree always amazes me too. So what happens to your lovely green flower when you close your album?

  14. Glee, it looks a little smushed in the album (as it did in the packaging), but it revives itself -- I checked! That was my worry, too. ;)