It's Never Ideal: A Graceful End of the Year

We can hope for, and plan for ideals, but we know it's a process, and it will never be ideal. Now some use that as an excuse for static environments and not entertaining new ideas, but others recognize it as part of the journey towards work that responds to the changing world we live and work in--I'm part of that camp.

I write a lot about ideals and hopes for educational organizations.  I see the promise our schools and school systems hold for a better world--we have so much potential.

Right now though, it's a busy, busy time of year and while I can imagine a more graceful final leg, it's my job to end the year with as much grace and care as I can. What does that mean?

First, it means flexibility. The students' feelings and activity will shift in unknown ways. This has already started. Students who always do the right thing, demonstrate their anxiety or exhaustion in unexpected ways.  I respond, "It's good you made this mistake now as it's a good time to learn that you just can't do that." Or other students who have worked tirelessly all year are simply too tired to put in their typical effort. I respond, "Do your best.  It's the end of the year, we're all tired."  Many just want me to be close and solve their problems, help with their projects, and answer their questions.  I'm not an octopus, I think, but instead I respond, "Who can help me help the others with their movies, edits, museum displays, and many, many hands go up--children are generally eager to help (another reason why I love working with children)."

So we'll go forward peacefully in the classroom completing the projects and giving everyone space to be tired, make mistakes and need a little more care and attention than usual. We'll also celebrate with end of the year concerts, picnics, parties, open houses and field studies.

I recognize the schedules will be tight and more time after school will be required for ordering and other matters.  I'll just do it.  Advocating for system change with three weeks to go is not going to work.  I've shared my thoughts once again, and over the summer, I'll think about more effective ways to advocate for change.

In the end what matters is ending this year with celebration as it has been a tremendous year in the classroom thanks to the support of students, families and colleagues both near and far (Thanks PLN!).  Once again The Little Engine That Could comes to mind, "I think I can, I think I can, I know I can!"

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