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! 

14 comments:

  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?

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

    Love your new LOs too....:D

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

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

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  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!

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  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.

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  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.

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

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  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.

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

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  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.

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

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

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  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. ;)

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