By the time you read this, most of our area schools will be done or down to the last few days. That stirs up a lot of emotions. I will admit, at my school the adults have had a countdown until summer going on in the work room since January. However now that the time has arrived, the emotions involved are a little different.
Don’t misunderstand. We are so very ready for summer! We are ready for a break from tests and classroom management and battling with Little Johnny and Sweet Suzy who can’t seem to ever get their work turned in or stay seated quietly. We are way beyond exhausted. Most of us are arise before six every day and don’t fall into bed until after eleven. Those seventeen hour days will wear on anyone. We are tired of managing all the hassles of paperwork and curriculum and grading papers. We aren’t sure what else we can possibly cram into the final days of school but know we must keep the kids busy or else face mutiny. We are longing for quiet, sleep, sunshine, reading in a hammock or on a beach. We are whispering prayers that the vacation we hoped for will work out. We are yearning to turn our calendars to June and July, where the days are long and there are only a few days spent on workshops and prep for next year’s classes. Make no mistake. We are as ready for summertime as the kids.
But then there are the harsher realities of working in a school ten months of the year. When summer break arrives, we worry about “our” kids. We realize that not everyone has a good home. We know that not everyone will go to church camp or on a family trip to the beach. We realize that many won’t eat much over the summer. We worry about those who will sit in their room and play video games or watch youtube all summer long. We fret over who will move over the summer and who will take care of them in a new school. We pray that we’ve done enough to prepare them for the next grade, to help them get ready for the hard things the next year or next school will bring. We consider driving by their homes to see if they are outside and check to make sure they’re healthy and well. We wonder if they’re being taken care of and if they will be told they are great kids during the summer. As educators, we hold pretty big loads in the worrying market.
While you may think that teachers get to relax and enjoy peaceful summers, you’re only partly right. The kids who pass through our classrooms and our care will forever be “our” kids. While they may grow and change and move on without us, we will always remember them as the kid who we taught reading or math or science or history. We will always remember how they lit up when they finally got the concepts being presented or how they struggled so much with it. We will remember the stories they told us about their weekends and what went on at their house—good or bad. Yes, those kids we teach will always be “our” kids. We will always worry about them and look forward to hearing updates on how they are, who they’re dating, where they’re working and how excited they are to graduate!
As I look forward to the days of summer sunshine ahead, with my stacks of books to catch up on and a husband to nurse through recovery from a pretty major surgery in early June, I am also ready to spend some time on my knees for all of “my” kids. Feel free to join me and all other educators this week as we say good-bye to one batch of kids and prepare for the next ones coming up.