In a couple of words–tiring and emotional.
The last few days are spent grading final exams (mine have two parts: written and objective), getting the last late work checked, setting up special folders for kids who cannot make the exams, counting hundreds of books, doing mounds of administrative paperwork (six hours, alone, yesterday…still have a good two to three hours worth left for today), and cleaning up/out the classrooms. And no, none of it can be done weeks in advance.
It is emotional for a few reasons: Some co-workers are moving on to other schools in the district, moving on with their lives (retirement or going to other districts), and the finality of things can be emotional. We are going, for the most part, seven days a week. Our students, most days, are on our minds from sunrise until we shut our eyes at night. (That’s why the gym has become my happy place. I think more about how my butt is being kicked.)
I get used to seeing the students, and after having some for three years, sometimes for more than one class during a school year, they become like my own children. Saying good-bye and leaving school for two months is a very lonely feeling. I’m happy for the break and I am so very proud of my students, but I won’t see most of them again…ever. That’s very sad to me. I don’t do good-byes very well and I always seem to see people walking out of my life for various reasons. The older I get the harder it is. However, it is a joy to see what great things my students are preparing themselves for and a joy to see where all their hard work is taking them.
I usually gulp a huge lump in my throat when the seniors sing at graduation. I usually have a few tears in my eyes when I say good-bye to my kids. (Like I do right now.)
It is a weird thing, all this love and care for kids who aren’t mine. I treat them like they are mine, though. I’d lose my compassion if I didn’t.
I look forward to the next school year, though. New beginnings. Stressed and overworked? Yep. Do I love my job, though? Most days, and on the days I don’t, I remind myself that I do by thinking about all the good things that I witness, especially the answered prayers I receive when I pray for my students and co-workers.
Okay….you were waiting for this song, weren’t you?