A colleague of mine posted a status update on Facebook which read, “Which sounds better 5 weeks left or 20 days until summer break?” I dislike countdowns. It makes no sense to me on a couple of levels. Why hang on to the feeling of dread or cater to the impending impatience of getting by until the so-called big event. . . why count down as if the now isn’t as good as the what will be? What if you miss out on the future while pining for the future? And then it happens, and now what?
I’ve tried to let go of the notion to wait around for “something better.” It is unnecessary and unhealthy. I try my best to live in the here and now, enjoy the little blessings every day, so I keep myself away from countdowns. Oh, I can’t wait for the end of the work day, or days until I get on a plane for a vacation, but to count down only prolongs the dread of enduring the “hardship” of the present. The next day, will her status update will read, “3 1/2 weeks or 15 days until the end of the school, etc.” Really? It would just get me anxious.
When I came across a post by another teacher who blogged: 26. Your Heart will Ache | Things they don’t tell you about teaching…. I thought of the many students who have come and gone through my own classroom over the years. This art teacher shares her story of working with students for almost six years, from 7th graders to high school seniors. I cannot imagine that bond working with kids most of their teen years like that. I have had my share of “looping” with students every two years from 7th to 8th grade. A positive bond can occur, and tears do shed at the end of the two years, but on the other hand, two years may be too long (when working with certain types of students and their parents). It is called the “middle school concept” where the same group of students stay together with a team of teachers. It has its pros an cons.
A couple of my 8th grade girls asked me if I was going to miss them next school year. I tell them honestly, “No, not really.” They of course, think I’m joking, and want me to get mushy, but the truth is, I’ll have another batch of incoming 7th graders, and chances are they’ll remind me of students past, and life goes on. It’s especially funny, when I start getting younger siblings, who have been forewarned about me by their big brother or sister.
As 9th graders, some students will sneak back on campus and visit me. I am touched that they still care enough to think of me. Then life as high schoolers will kick in, and they’ll get caught up with college readiness. They’ll find me on Facebook, send a Friend Request, and I’ll freak out at how old I’ve gotten because they’ll be graduating high school, and I’ll realize that four years have already passed since they were in my class. A retired teacher friend once told me that “old” doesn’t kick in until a student comes up to you and says, “My grandma/pa or mom/dad was in your class.” Yikes.
I’m not counting days until summer break just yet. I’m still kicking their butts (nurturing, motivating) them enough to earn their 8th grade credit. But I do yearn for the soft sand between my toes, and salt water on my skin. *sigh