I have a complicated relationship with endings. And this is really difficult when you teach. Every year, I’m faced with many ends that don’t bring resolution.
Last week, the current cohort of students in the Diverse Student Union had their cultural event, and it had been a long and difficult road of revisioning and planning, consulting and sitting alongside the discomfort of change. But as the evening drew to a close, I realised that the learning continues and it’s rarely linear. We keep making mistakes and learning with each cycle, with each group. They learn, we learn, they leave, we stay as pivot points in the beautiful growing fractal.
Then, the next day at a professional learning network, I witnessed the vertigo of endings. We had developed close relationships, cried in front of one another, and laughed while listening to stories, the honest stories of our struggle to do better one mistake at a time while holding to a revision of student centered learning in the classroom. We had documented our experiences on a website, shared videos of our students, and when it was time to leave the room, our movement slowed with stuttering steps, wide-eyed wordless stares of disbelief, all of us unsure of how to respond in this moment of closure. We were not ready for it to end.
And so, the school year moves with nature and the heat reminds us of long restful days, the joys of fresh cut grass, farmer’s markets, and time — oh, the time that begins and ends so abruptly each summer. I wonder now at this vague uneasiness that keeps revisting me at commencement each year — I am thankful for the promise of summer, for the students who’ve passed through my classroom, yet I never feel this as an ending.
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