There is no doubt about it! It’s back to school time! When I enter Wal-Mart, I see back to school lists and shelves stocked a mile high with school supplies. It’s one of my favorite times of the year. I have no idea why seeing all those school supplies makes me happy, but I know for sure it does! I actually miss being a student and having a “need” to buy them. I still browse the aisles for old time’s sake!
For some students, school starts in two weeks. It’s hard to believe that summer is almost over and fall is almost here! However, the weather we’ve been having in Washington state does make it a little easier to accept. The weather has been in fall mode much before the rest of us. Back to school is a big time for students, schools, and families, but it is also a big time in children’s ministry. It’s our transition period where our students move up to the next grade.
As a 5th/6th grade teacher in my church, this transition time always hits me the hardest, because it means saying good-bye to many students who will now be moving up into our youth ministry. It’s a good time to watch them spread their wings and there is always another class moving up to fill their shoes. Every year the transition flow is the same, but the faces of the kids are different.
Tomorrow night will be a “last” class party for my Wednesday night girls. We will take down our bulletin board and our class poster. We will pass out our binders and clear them out for the next class moving up. This is a clean up the room night and get ready for the new school year. After the cleaning and sorting is finished, we will play games and just hang out as a class for the last time.
The last two Wednesday of August will be spent in Fusion, our youth ministry at Bethel Church. We all go and sit together as a class. For my 6th graders who must move up, this gives them a chance to move up with familiar faces surrounding them. For my 5th graders, this gives them a chance to see what Fusion is all about and make up their mind if they would like to move up or stay in my class another year. No matter what decision my girls make, I want them to be well informed and make the decision that is best for them. These two weeks almost feel like a mini-vacation for me. I don’t have to plan a game, a lesson, a craft and make a snack. It’s a nice way to end the summer.
Come the first Wednesday of September, I will have a new class on Wednesday nights. All the 4th graders will officially become 5th graders and my 5th graders that stay will be my 6th graders. The beginning of a new year is always fun. I get to redecorate the bulletin board with fall colors! Something I always love to do. We will make a new poster that everyone will sign their names on and we will make new binder covers for another year of lessons and learning. It’s a great time to play ice breaker games and get to know the new vibe of the class.
Every class is different and it always changes each year as new girls move up. I’m truly blessed by my girls and they bring so much joy to my life. The transition period is always hard for me to say good-bye to the students that are moving up. I tell them that they can always come visit my classroom before and after church! I’m still available for hugs and chats! They must promise never to get “too cool” to hang out with me. While it is hard to let go of some students, the void doesn’t stay empty. My new students are waiting for me to get to know them and invest in them. Each year brings so much promise and opportunity. I am blessed by each class I teach. I’m sure this new class will be no exception!