The End Of Another School Year: A Thank You
We Are Almost There
We've (Nearly) Made It - My Thanks As A Parent
The end of another school year is upon us, and students - and, no doubt, their teachers - are eagerly anticipating lazy days.
They should. For some families, it's felt like a long haul between September to this point. In my own case, my oldest daughter was fairly ready to put her elementary school days behind her back in September or October, which meant trying to get her to maintain her focus on getting the work done was a challenge to say the least. My youngest, who is frequently quite outspoken, found herself struggling with time management and relationships with her peers, so she, too, had a hard time getting through the year.
As a parent, I'm very blessed that my kids have several adult (and in some cases, teenage) figures in their lives that they turn to for support. These individuals represent some of the very best in my kids' lives, and I'm incredibly grateful that my kids have these people who offer unconditional support to them.
To the parents that let me know what's happening at school when my kids may not have, thank you. While my kids are honest, they are also occasionally forgetful, and may get tied up telling me other stories when there's potentially something else going on that's bothering them. Your insight has allowed me to better help them navigate some of the issues that have come up this year.
To my kids' friends: there's a reason why you've stayed friends with my kids. In some cases, you've had a friendship with either one or both of my girls for years, because you have given them a safe space where they can truly be themselves and be accepted for that. In some cases, you've become like family to them, which means, of course, there might be disagreements, but you always find your way back to where you were, and I know my kids are grateful you guys have their backs.
To the teachers, EAs, and karate instructors in my children's lives: my kids spend at least 6 hours out of every day hanging out in your building or at a karate dojo. You are the other role models in their lives that they look to for guidance, and you have, as much as anyone, helped continue to shape them into the people they are right now. Sometimes my kids are not the easiest to deal with - they are notoriously stubborn and sometimes moody with questionable levels of confidence - but you are patient and kind with them in a way that sometimes I struggle with being. I suppose that is as it should be, given we are all frequently more irritated by something our own kids have done than the behavior of other kids at times, but know that I do appreciate your work in my kids' lives.
To My Fellow Teachers: Thank You
Where Would Teachers Be Without Their Colleagues?
Joke as some might about having summers off, this is not the case for many teachers.
Sure, we do have our days where we hit the beach with and without our kids, and there's road trips and other events, but teachers do spend a fair bit of time taking courses and planning the following school year rather than sitting back and blissfully enjoying the summer.
Some work through the summer; I will be joining some of my colleagues for the month of July teaching summer school, and if there's any one way to enjoy working through the summer, that's it. You're in a classroom with likeminded people where you get to collaborate, joke, bemoan the fate of some students who have made unfortunate choices, and strategize about how to help those who are struggling. It's a pretty cool experience, and one for which I am grateful.
But during the school year, you become ever more appreciative for those colleagues and administrators that have made you feel supported and have made you smile when you need it the most. Teaching is not an easy job - there are few truly "easy" jobs out there, if you want to know the truth - but educating kids from kindergarten to Grade 12 has never been a walk in the park. Truth be told, I don't think many of us would have gotten into this profession if it was actually an easy thing to do. The fact that there are challenges inherent to the profession is what makes it special.
So, to my amazing colleagues who have worked with me, inspired me, and pushed me to think outside the box - thank you. You refresh my practices and continue to encourage me to grow as a teacher, even after 20 years in and out of the profession.
To those who have made me giggle or belly laugh til my face hurt - thanks. Sometimes, that gift of laughter is the best ever, and happens when you least expect it.
To the guidance department and school counsellors: with the numbers of kids who continue to struggle with success and their own mental health, your job has become even more challenging over the years. Know that you are appreciated and that there are many times where I might feel a bit lost without your insight into our kids.
To Student Success: you endlessly advocate for the kids who don't really know how best to work for their own success, and that takes a lot of patience and determination. Thanks for everything you do to try and help these kids work for their own successes.
To the secretarial team: just wow. Sometimes, teachers aren't the easiest lot to work with. We sometimes want what we need when we want it, and that's definitely not something that makes your job easy at all. Somehow, you guys always deliver, and make it look pretty seamless. I have no idea how you do what you do, but am grateful all the same that you do it!
Finally, to the administrators: it's funny how as kids, the last place we all wanted to go is the principal's office, and administrators used to seem like very daunting figures in our young lives. Now, we're working with you to try and help these kids rediscover their paths if they've gotten into trouble, or find an appropriate way to navigate the endless stream of paperwork that seems inherent to all of our jobs, or just find a positive solution to any one of a number of problems that can crop up in the building. I appreciate your support throughout the year, and hope that you get a chance for some much needed down time.
Working with a school as both a teacher and a parent can be truly a challenge, but without all these other individuals in our lives that enrich us and the lives of our children, that work would be much more challenging. So now - enjoy your summer. We've earned it.