I’ve got the end of the semester blues

Jan 21, 2016

Today was a crazy day. No break, ELO, lunchtime tutorial, rewrites, and it’s the second last day of the semester. Relationships built over the past few months are going to change, exams and grades become the language of the day, learning is done for now. All of the participants are stressed; teachers, students, counsellors and administrators are juggling to stay on top of demands, trying to keep it all handled without letting the cracks show. But they’re showing.

I realized today that what I am feeling, this sense of loss and despair, is different from previous semesters. It’s different because I have learned, by inquiring into my pratice enroute to a Masters, that it’s the relationships with my kids that drives everything in my class, that drives me. Our/my relationship with my students is the foundation of any learning that occurs, my relationship with my kids is what keeps me coming to work day in and day out.

And it’s the realization of this through inquiry and research and reading and writing/reflecting and conversations with peers and colleagues and critical friends and students that makes me value and understand the student who came and apologised to me for being a jerk over the past few weeks  (inner jump for joy that he stepped up to do this) and who got pissed with me a few hours later because I was not available at that moment to deal with his needs (tutorial time meeting other kids’ needs).

I value the one who shows up, who makes it to class prepared or not to write the test. I value and enjoy their enthusiasm over the new hall pass, an oinking pig, and I get a huge belly laugh, deep down to my toes, when my kids are willing to be the P-waves and the S-waves in a race of earthquake waves.

Learning is so much more than the tests/assessments and rewrites and grades (gag) and comprehensive exams that we give/dole out. In fact, I feel confident in stating uncategorically that learning has nothing to do with any of these things. Instead, it’s the mutual give and take between teacher and students, the day-to-day participation in the life of the classroom, the willingness to show up every day and try even when it’s scary and you feel judged and you really don’t know…yet. So I want to thank all of my students for showing up to my classroom and making it one of the best semesters of my teaching career…yet.

 

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