Wednesday, June 21, 2006

Hip Hip Hooray

If you could be in my head today there are several songs you would be hearing. Beethovin's "Ode to Joy" would be one, Celebration by Kool and the Gang and Schools Out, an old Alice Cooper song would be the others. If you haven't guessed it I work in education and today was our last day of school. For me it's always bittersweet. The kids are ready to leave and I'm ready to see them out the door. What makes it sad is that we're sending these kids off to bigger things, middle school. Although they aren't seniors in the strictest sense, they were the top dogs in elementary school and are now moving on to a new stage in their lives. I won't see them around next year. I can only hope that the blood, sweat and tears that went into this school year will have prepared them for sixth grade. One thing I won't miss is hearing my name 100 times a day. I won't miss the crazy parents. I won't miss the student that doesn't even try to learn and distracts anyone who sits near them. I won't miss the student that bullies everyone then wonders why no one likes him. I won't miss the student that thinks that school is something he has to come to only when he feels like it. I must tell you that we spend more time than ever teaching kids manners, respect, empathy etc. More and more we seem to be doing the job that should be done at home by their parents. It is hard to teach academics in 6 hours plus find time to teach morals. Parents, the best thing that you can do is to teach your child to be respectful to adults and peers, teach them that the world does not revolve around them. Children need to learn how to handle disappointment. Teach them that not everything goes their way. Teach them to take responsibility for their actions. I don't need a dozen excuses as to why they didn't do their homework or why someone else made them do something.
What I will miss is the smiles I see everyday from the kids who want to learn, that try their best. I love when you can see it in their face when they finally "get it". That expression, "like a light bulb goes on over their head" is so true. They look so proud of themselves, even surprised at themselves. That is priceless, worth all the other shit that goes down. To have a child come to you and ask if they can give up their recess time on the playground if you will work with them on something they are having trouble with. I will miss the students that are good role models and lead by example. The student that greets you each morning with a cheery hello and says thank you when they leave at night. The student that takes a risk, doing something outside of their comfort zone. I will miss the autistic child that finally asks a peer to hang out with him and even my scary Russian student I will miss. Then I remember that I will have a whole new crew of them in 75 days. I love my job.