The last day of school for the year. It’s one that I look forward to with great anticipation from about two weeks into Term Four. Yet inevitably, every time it arrives, I feel a sense of sadness that I have to say goodbye to the students that I have just spent the whole year getting to know as a wonderful group of individuals. This year was particularly sad for me because I caught a nasty bug on last-day-of-the-year eve, and so was unable to go to work to farewell and congratulate a class that has achieved so much, both as a group and individually throughout the year.
Nevertheless, this is always a time of reflection for me and I realise that whilst I have just spent the year being ‘their teacher’, they have also been ‘my teachers.’ And they have taught me things over the past three years that can never be planned for in a lesson plan. Below are just a few:
1. The importance of routine and consistent expectations. For and of both them and me.
2. As much as I try, I may never be able to understand or fix the problems they face outside of school which affect their learning. I can focus on making school a safe place for them where they feel respected and valued.
3. Whilst they may not always show it, teenagers do appreciate their teachers. Most of the time poor or rude behaviour is not personal but reflective of the young person’s own negative experiences and choices.
4. Take time out to be silly, have fun and just laugh with them. And be comfortable with laughing at yourself.
5. Be honest. At all times. With yourself and them.
What lessons have your students taught you? Please feel free to share via a comment if you wish.
I hope you all have a wonderful end to the school year.