My guess is that August for me is what June feels like for most teachers. This month, I have taken down the bulletin board and posters in the my classroom on Wednesday nights. I have divided up all the stuff the girls have collected over the year and given it back to them as keepsakes and mementos. Tonight to celebrate our last “official” class together, we walked over to McDonald’s (in the rain, I might add… in August) and got special treats. Attendance is down in August with last minute vacations and end of summer stuff, so my group was pretty small. I let each girl order one item off the menu and they all went for McFlurries I, however, went with my standard soft serve cone. It’s a classic. We made a summer picture frame and put a class photo in it. We signed autograph books which are a lot like yearbooks. It’s a way for the girls to say something nice about each other. For me as a teacher, it’s one more opportunity to tell them how awesome they are, how much they are loved and how I’m always here for them no matter what. I closed the night by sharing what an honor it has been to be their teacher. I thanked them for making teaching so fun and I told them to come visit me often. I’m always down the hallway. They know were to find me.
Because my class is 5th and 6th grade girls, I’ve had many of my students for two years. Relationships grow deep in two years and it’s hard to let go and watch them grow up. Even my co-teacher, who has served by my side the last three years, is leaving for college in a week and a half. It really is the end. The end of a season. A good season. That doesn’t mean the next season won’t be good, it’s just hard for me. In a lot of ways, this was my last normal year of teaching. The last time to do things the way I have always done them. Next year I’ll have a new co-pilot in the classroom and I’m super excited about that, but it will also be my first year balancing teaching and parenting. I’m certainly curious how that will pan out. So far I’ve been able to pour 110% into other peoples kids because I haven’t had my own to worry about. The dynamic of life is going to change and change can be hard to adjust to even if it’s not bad.
Even though one season is ending, it does mean a new one is beginning. A new chance to build relationships with the upcoming class. We will redecorate the classroom and make it our own. The walls won’t stay bare for long. Right now it might seem sad, but the momentum of fall will soon be propelling us forward into another great adventure. Each year it’s hard to say good-bye and watch another class move out of children’s ministries, but I am always comforted to know that there is another group of students just waiting to enter my classroom. I have a fresh, new opportunity each year to invest in lives and make an impact with the 5th/6th grade girls at Bethel. It’s an opportunity that I don’t take lightly and one that is seriously way too much fun. So as one season is about to end, another one is just about to begin.