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I should be hauling out all the boxes my husband has been collecting for me (which are now sitting, all 25 of them) in my van, and beginning to go about the business of packing up my classroom. Packing up every single book, artifact, cushion and rug I have covering every inch of this classroom – that is the task I should be attending to.
Instead, here I sit, with about 10 minutes to spare before my kids come in, and all I can do is look across the happy looking expanse of my classroom, still festooned with work we’ve done and work we will be finishing up, and reflect….
The year always seems to have flown by in these last days. We begin in September with the year spread before us – with long months of carrying out carefully crafted teaching plans, getting to know our students,and weighing teaching decisions all before us. There is anticipation, excitement, some anxiety, lots of energy. The classroom looks shiny new, with summer finds (books! more comfy chairs!) here and there to remind us of new beginnings. Even the light coming through my windows seems to have a fresh slant. New beginnings – for my kids, and for me.
Now, the classroom looks well used. Our book bins looked messy, and our portfolio containers are filled to the bursting. Today, my kids will begin the process of packing up – they will collect their projects, and their portfolios, they will return the books they borrowed which have magically been discovered at the very bottom of those lockers they are also cleaning out. By the time they leave on Thursday, and by the time I leave on Friday, our room will be back to being just a room filled with boxes and furniture and rolled up rugs. A place to be cleaned up, dusted, painted.
At the moment though, it is the room in which 32 children spent a year learning about things that matter: to be kind and have intellectual integrity, to be open and accepting of new ideas, to make reading and writing as natural a need as breathing, to think of history as a story worth knowing. We have such important work before us, every day of the school year. Teaching matters. And the year, which seemed so long in September, seems to have been rather short after all.
I find, with the sound of my kids racing up the stairwell and down the corridor to our room just beginning, that I am not ready to let go…