Slice of Life Tuesday: When you know your work is done

Slice of Life Tuesday is hosted by Two Writing Teachers

We are closing in on the last days of school (eight more days), and the last days of my teaching life (a bittersweet thought, which I am mostly avoiding).  Each day is a reminder to walk into our classroom with eyes and heart wide open for those moments I know I will want to hold onto and remember when I no longer have a classroom full of sixth graders bursting to the seams with energy, angst, imagination, and feeling.  I am holding on so fast that I cannot even bring myself to write about our daily life and learning, as I so religiously did, right here on this blog, for so many years.

In a way, nothing has changed from the years past.  These last days of life in Room 202 look no different from the last days of school for as long as I can remember: my kids are working on their multi-genre writing projects, on their slave life historical investigation projects, and then we come together to share a last read aloud.

Our room is mostly quiet as we work (students and teacher) to write/revise/clarify/elaborate/rethink our writing pieces.  From time to time, we forgo the Google docs conferences via comments for the old side-by-side, knee-to-knee variety from the beginning of the school year.  We work for two periods, some times three, without a break.  There is an air of purposeful intensity in the air: we have meaningful work to do, and a limited time to accomplish it all.  We have been preparing for this time since the first day of school: a time of independence, of self-direction, of knowing how to go about the business of managing one’s time and shaping one’s work.

Today, I took some time to just watch my kids, my almost-seventh-graders, and marvel at the progress they’ve made in the space of just a year.  I watch as they toggle back and forth from one task to the next: writing one piece, putting the final touches on another, moving on to their social studies research project as they wait for my comments, and then circling back to check on their writing.  Every once in a while, they check in with me to make sure they are on track (four writing pieces are due next Monday, their history project is due Friday).  At one point, I had to leave the classroom to get a drink of water for a coughing fit,  no one noticed…

…now, I know, my work is done.







15 thoughts on “Slice of Life Tuesday: When you know your work is done

  1. I wonder if that closing line is true. Is accurate? I imagine that you will always be teacher. Now a teacher–for most anyone can be that.

    No, you dear Tara will be Teacher.
    It simply is who you are.

  2. Oh, Tara, I can only imagine how hard this must be to leave the classroom. Saddest part– so many kids will miss having you as their teacher. Best part– so many children have been nurtured by you into caring, thoughtful, respectful readers, writers and human beings. Your passion, your energy, your kindness, and your tenacity at giving all you have will last for years with these kids. Wishing you the best as you keep reading, writing, and learning in so many other ways outside the classroom.

    • My parents need me, and that is that. But teaching will always be my calling, thanks to you, Kylene, Nancie, and Vicki. I will find a way to keep doing what I love. Thanks for stopping by, Linda.

  3. I love how your piece really shows how much you love your students and invested in them and their learning over the last year (and years). Although you are called elsewhere now, I believe those who are really called to teach have the art/craft/profession find them where-ever they are. You are a teacher and will always be. Take care. (BTW – the independent learning that you describe in your piece is something we could all aspire to achieving!)

  4. I have been retired for five years now. My last class of sixth graders will be seniors next year. Hard to believe. I still volunteer with our local Writing Project. I am sure that you will continue teaching in some capacity. A teacher never stops being a teacher. I admit that leaving my classroom on that last day and knowing that the next school year it would be someone else’s room was hard.

  5. This: into our classroom with eyes and heart wide open for those moments I know I will want to hold onto and remember when I no longer have a classroom” except put library instead of the classroom.
    You will find other ways to teach, you are a teacher. Savor the minutes.

  6. Best wishes Tara! I took a few years off when my babies were little and I always dreaded the first day of school. After that, it got easier and sometimes I didn’t even know it was a school day!

  7. I love the fullness and finality of this post. How gratifying to see your work through to fruition! I do miss that sometimes, now that I’m out of the classroom and into the library, though I get glimpses when I can find the right books to keep my readers going.

  8. Every teacher’s goal should be to get kids independent enough to put themselves out of a job (so to speak). Your coughing fit, while unfortunate for you physically, showed you just how much your almost-seventh graders have grown thanks to your guidance.

    I wish you well as you close out your classroom-teaching life and transition to your next role.

  9. The bittersweetness of the situation is hard to think about and describe. The feeling came through your words even though you were describing the last days as they usually are at the end of the school year. Living your life “with eyes and heart wide open” will hopefully help you to transition from teaching to the next chapter of your life.

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