The edges of the classroom are a little worn, but the weave that holds the class together is usually strong and vibrant this time of year. Perhaps it’s the sense of bittersweet that binds everyone. All the work you’ve put in. Every year, so much happens in nine months that by May there is both a deep sense of unity and teamwork, of not wanting it all to come to an end, and … a sense of anticipation for “stepping up” to the next grade, new friends, a new teacher. What will it be like next year?
But before it’s all over, you’re on the coach bus to that museum you studied about in April and that you’ll recreate in your classroom as a final project when you return. There’s the big family picnic, there’s making a video clip for the kids who will be in your room next year, “step-up” day when students get to meet their teacher for next year or go for an orientation at middle school.
You spend more time outdoors with your teacher, who takes you out some days for class reading. She begins perhaps her most favorite chapter book for you now, having saved it for last, knowing how much you’ve grown to love her reading, always asking her to keep going when you know she’s going to say, “Wait for tomorrow!” It’s just that the tomorrows are dwindling.
And your teacher keeps teaching really hard stuff, but you pay more attention now because the days are precious and you seem to be learning more every day. You actually want to do your homework, even when you have to finish it after your softball game, because your teacher is giving you choices about what assignments to do and having you share in groups when you come in for morning work before your morning meeting.
In the heat of the day, after recess, sometimes there are popsicles, definitely wet paper towels on foreheads, long drinks at the water fountain, shades drawn, lights off, good company. You sort through your folders looking for your best work to put on display for the younger kids to see when they come in for their step-up day. You frame your favorite drawing, copy over the poem you are proud of. The last achievement tests seem easier than you expected. Maybe you will get a decent report card.
You look at your teacher talking to another student quietly at her desk and you think how much you will miss her. You think of something you want to tell her about something you did wrong, or something you are sorry for, or something you want her to know you will never forget, good or bad, and you decide … to write her a note before the last week of school in June.
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