And though she’ll no doubt bounce around the room Daffy Duck-style, yelling “Whoohoo,” this time comes with a bit of sadness too. Another set of fifth graders are being shipped to The Middle School. Gasp! They’re ready for it. I know they are, but a part of me wants to keep them for another year. Maybe two. I’ve come to like these kids. They’ve grown on me, and I wouldn’t mind hanging out with them for a little longer.
Many of them will come back to visit, and it’s fun to hear what they’ve been up to and what they’re learning, but they’ll never be “mine” again. I know many of them are nervous about going to middle school. They have doubts, concerns, fears. What they don’t know is that I’m nervous too. Nervous about the new fifth graders I’ll be getting. I only know the new kids as fourth graders. I’ve only seen them quickly in passing in the hallway or out on the recess yard where they were no doubt acting like…well, like fourth graders. They haven’t achieved that fifth grade cool that I so love.
I’ve been watching the fourth graders warily this week, trying to decide if they’ll get my jokes or will I end up making some of them cry? I hate when that happens. I can be kind of sarcastic and most fifth graders get it, but these fourth graders? I don’t know. They look sort of…fragile.
And just thinking of how far my current fifth graders have come and having to start all over from square one with the new batch makes me cringe. Ugh. It’s like backtracking, and I’m solidly a moving forward type of gal. Sure, I can improve upon the lessons I did this year, but what if my tricks don’t work on this new crop? What if I don’t connect with them?
What if they don’t like me?
I somehow have to charm another whole set of forty-five kids, get them to respect me, and teach them everything a fifth grader needs to know. Aww, shucks. Can’t I just keep the kids I have?
I, of course, realize that I can’t keep my darlings. I must pass them off so they can expand their horizons, and I’m sure the new kids will work out just fine. That doesn’t stop me from worrying just a little about that day looming at the end of August—The First Day of School. Crazy, right? Here I am, just a day away from the beginning of my Summer vacation and the conclusion of a successful school year, and I’m already anxious about the new school year ahead.
Clearly, I need this Summer vacation, right? Time to unwind, regroup, plan my battle strategy for those new fifth graders. They will like me, and I’ll like them, and that’s just how it’s going to be.
So, I’ll wish my current students farewell and good luck tomorrow. I’ll put School Chris away. I’ll listen to “Summertime” by D.J. Jazzy Jeff and the Fresh Prince when I get home like I do every year to kick off the Summer vacation, and I’ll dance around my house in celebration.
A part of me, however, will wonder what next year brings…
Who was your favorite elementary school teacher? Why?