School years, inevitably, end -- and once again, I am at the end of another passage of time spent teaching and learning with another group of young 11 and 12 year old people. The lockers are empty, as are the desks. All the battered and dilapidated notebooks have been tossed into the recycle bins. The glue and the crayons and the markers and the rulers have been sorted out and assigned to their various tubs. We've shared treats and memories; tears and hugs.
Ultimately, the last frenetic days come to an end in a flurry of cleaning and last assignments and our own unique version of "field day." We sing the school song one last time, and they are off with an over the shoulder wave and hardly a backward glance. They carry with them bits of me -- my words but also my heart and my sweat and my tears and my midnight worrying -- woven into the very fiber of their beings. They will go on from my little classroom kingdom to learn and grow and become the people they are destined to be. What has been given and provided this year will grow in them as it will, and I will know very little of the outcomes of the work I've done.
They are off to the future, my little band of adventurers. I wish them strength and joy and courage for their journeys. For now, I am content to rest; put my feet up; unpack my boxes and begin the work of re-ordering all the "stuff" of teaching. It is summer and I am beyond tired, but I am also well content with the year that was.