Saturday, July 2, 2011

The Year is Over

I am so tired that I am sitting here aimlessly although I have many things I should or could be doing and it's even a beautiful day.  I think I am exhausted!  Someone after my fitness class today asked me why I was so tired.

There is a lot going on at the end of the year-not necessarily teaching but still learning.  I had field trips last Thursday and Friday, and as fun as they are there is a certain amount of stress as one is concerned that all will go okay.  Friday we did manage to all get soaked as we navigated around downtown in the pouring rain.  In Vancouver expect to get wet at least on one field trip!  My fellow seventh grade teacher couldn't talk so she missed the field trip and I felt as if I was getting sick by the weekend as well but with Cold Fx and Vitamin C I managed to stave off the disease. The field trips were actually huge successes.

Most of my class thought that I should quit teaching this week, but I managed to finish the last math unit and they did some good writing on their last field trips.  We saw a performance of Latin music Monday afternoon and Tuesday was the graduation assembly.  It was a bit warm and stuffy and long especially for our kindergarten children but this was the big moment my students had been waiting for in some way since they were those kindergarten students.

My whole class wrote valedictorian speeches and presented them as well the last the week before, and then they picked what they thought were the best two to represent them.  Many speeches were really quite amazing and the fact that the students all wrote and presented them was also great.  I also can see how good their critical skills were as they judged them.  I had linked them to a web site on how to write a valedictorian speech and they really took cues from this.  Teachers were all asking Gaven for the quote he used.  I decided to make a few books of the speeches, some to give teachers who were leaving, and a couple to leave in the staffroom for teachers to read.  So many lovely things were said about their various teachers and their whole experience at our school.  I also blew up the speeches and students put them up all over our hallways for everyone to read. 

We finally got the class yearbook from the printers.  Friday after the field trip downtown and the day my car's battery died forever, I ended up after school at the school board print shop for a couple of hours sorting out this with Dirk, the patient printer who had inherited the job from Tony who put his back out.  There were some difficulties and Dirk phoned me Saturday night to tell me he had finished the job.  But they turned out quite beautiful with each student having designed his or her own page in full colour.   We did these at the Apple Store.  I think they were pleased with the result.

Then there were all the certificates putting my calligraphy skills to the test.  All the grads got a certificate, the prize winners got certificates, and then I always do certificates giving each student some kind of award in the class and we guess who got what.

I wasn't going to do it but due to "pressure" from the students who had been in my grade six I did read them my favorite touching story and they each wrote compliments about each student in the class.  I managed to get these collated but still have some lists to give out as I managed to lose a few at home.

Wednesday, the certificates and lists were given out in the classroom after our school assembly.  This was a great assembly as we had a great video of the year done by one of our staff members as well as a recreation of the flash mob our Me to We club did at Metrotown.  It was also sad as it was  filled with good-byes as we have several popular teachers leaving as well our grade sevens.  One teacher quoted Gaven saying to the effect- let's not cry that we are leaving but smile thinking of all the great times we have had. 

Other than a bit of clean up we spent the afternoon at a nearby park with our grade one reading buddies.  Later the grade sevens organized a party there after school.  I drove by.  The main event seemed to be throwing water balloons but I think they had some refreshments and hey, I didn't have to supervise.  I have to say there was a feeling of release at 3:00 that all had gone well and we had finished well.  Eventually most of our staff drifted into the staffroom to collapse and munch at the various food that always seems to end up there.

Each year I can't help but think of what I could have done better.  I always know some things went well but I will never be the perfect teacher however long I might teach.  It is gratifying to have a grandmother ask to hug you for what you have done for her grandson I do admit.  And my students this year have truly amazed me time and again.  I see them change and I have to think that all my nagging and encouraging has had some effect. 

In the last couple of weeks I had to really question myself why I agreed to teach a summer program at my school for 12 mornings over three weeks this summer.  In fact I couldn't think about it too much.  I have never taught summer school as such.  I used to teach sometimes in the summer at SFU and have done a few summer workshops.  I kind of feel as if it's good to have a change, but because the program was at our school with our students I thought it would be okay.  I guess we will see but now that this chapter is closed I don't mind the epilogue actually.   Stay tuned...

1 comment:

Joan Warren said...

Your students are so fortunate to have had such a wonderful dedicated teacher! I enjoyed reading your blog and it caused me to recall end of school year memories from when I taught so many years ago. You truly are an outstanding teacher who is making a difference in the lives of the children you teach. Enjoy the Summer School experience and try to find time to relax and have fun during the Summer.
Joan Warren