Slice of Life Tuesday: Spring fever strikes sixth grade

You know it’s Spring in sixth grade when…

You hear this variations of this every period of the day: “It’s so nice outside, Mrs. Smith. Don’t you think that it would be a good idea to go outside and actually enjoy it?!”

The back of your classroom is piled with sports equipment – every day begins with: how did the game go? and ends with: good luck!

Your kids are “in love”, “in like”, “in hate” – so much drama.  Kids who were oblivious to one another are now joined at the hip. Someone is always smiling at someone else, looking at the clock so they can be with someone else during passing time, or rolling their eyes at someone. Drama!

Your kids are definitely “done with school”.  They may placate you and pretend like they care, but…not really. Their minds are on summer, the beach, vacation, sleeping until noon. Yes, they drag their bodies in at 7:30, and will do so for the next six weeks, but don’t kid yourself. They are DONE!

They are seventh graders now. Everything from their body language to their sudden self consciousness tells you that the kooky, open, wide eyed sixth grader who walked through your doors in September is GONE!  Here, instead, is a much more self assured version, a person who is not EVER impressed, a person who is cool and sophisticated and just so in control. Or thinks he/she is.

Suddenly, their thinking shifts. They are asking questions that stop you in your tracks – so many layers of thought, such soul in their process. They make you want to cry.  My kids are asking questions that show they know their place in the world, the work they must do – to think, to ask, to dig deep, to wonder, to dream. My heart swells with pride.

You begin to realize that they notice: what you do, how you do it, what you say, how you say it. There are echoes of September conversations, November conversations,March conversations. They loop and swirl and swoop in their thoughts – connecting bits and pieces of all we’ve done and weaving something wonderful.  The work is paying off.

You start to miss them.  Already.  You are slowly becoming a part of their past, a part they must move on from.  Our room, so central to their sixth grade lives, will become part of their yesterdays.  I can already see them, years from now, visiting and saying: I used to sit there, that was my favorite book, why did you move that bookcase…I miss this place.

Spring fever…I am happy and sad and proud and wistful.

My kiddos will be leaving soon…..


22 thoughts on “Slice of Life Tuesday: Spring fever strikes sixth grade

  1. You have captured spring fever in the middle grades so well! I am lamenting about the end of the year. It came so quickly and unexpectedly this year. I’m not ready.

  2. Every year as my kids seem like they are ready for the next grade, I see how much I will miss them. It’s so joyful and painful being a teacher…or being human (whatever).

  3. This is so true! When I write my agenda in the morning, I tentatively scribe the homework. It seems unjust to assign pages of reading or writing when summer is beckoning… Do you find that your kids keep up with their homework?

  4. Love this description of where they are now: “They loop and swirl and swoop in their thoughts – connecting bits and pieces of all we’ve done and weaving something wonderful.” I always had to remind myself in September that it takes nine months to reach this point. What a wonderful slice!

  5. This post brought back such memories of my teaching days. Drama always seemed to be more heightened with sixth grade students. There was always drama. But, by the end of the year there was such growth and not just physically. I am so blesses that I got to see that year after year.

  6. This is beautiful, Tara. So many emotions you’re feeling! I think sixth grade is a year of HUGE transformation, and I feel like it happened right before your very eyes. Best of luck in finishing out this year. They’ll be gone, but I know they’ll remember you forever.

  7. I love how you capture the chaos of spring in the classroom–drama and the span from happy to sad to wistful sums it up so well. Here’s to a joyful year’s end!

  8. Great slice. It took me back to elementary school. I love the images of the drama and the sense of self that has changed so much from the start of the year. But my favorite part is the paragraph that begins with “Suddenly, their thinking shifts.” What a great shift to witness!

  9. The end of the year is always hard for teachers. No lonelier place than a school the day after school ends. Only logical to mourn them before they leave.

  10. You know your students so well. This made me smile all the way through. They will be back to reminisce of the great things you did this year.

  11. I’ve got a lump in my throat, Tara. You captured how so many of us feel / have felt by the end of the school year. There’s so much growth… Time is running out…

    No wonder your students come back to visit you, Tara. (Even before they’re ready to step on a plane to go to a faraway place!) You care so much. What a wonderful teacher you are!

  12. Ah done, but they have only just begun! That is for sure. All that hard work has paid off.

    PS Set your post next to Margaret’s posts today. They are beautiful endnots to the a good school year! Lucky kids.

  13. I’ve always found the last weeks of school bittersweet, and I’ve never been one to count the days. Like you, I love seeing our hard work start to pay off, and start to miss my students before they even leave. One of the joys of working in a K-8 school is that I get to follow them and see what incredible people they start to become. Thank you for sharing this lovely reflection, Tara.

  14. I like the idea of echos of conversations from different months. Spring fever – not a bad thing to catch – makes you look back and forward.

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