Spring has finally hit New York. We had massive rain followed by beautiful, sunny 70 degree days. The trees are budding, crocuses are up, and animals are returning. I love spring time - the beginning of growth and warmth. I love the renewal of life, the energy of the earth, the chance to spend time outside. But for the first time, I began thinking about what spring means to my fifth grade class.
In school, spring is not the beginning but the ending. This is the time of year we are rushing to finish all of our curriculum. This is when my fifth graders start learning about the middle school, choosing a language to take and a music class to join, meeting the guidance counselors, and visiting the school itself. This is time of year when annual reviews begin filling our days. It is time to decide what kind of program our classified students will follow in the middle school. It is testing time. How well have all the classified students and AIS (academic intervention services) students learned this year? It is budget time. What will we need for next year that we either used up this year or never had and really need? It is time, even, to consider what to teach next year. Will I stay in fifth grade or move again to a different grade? Will Christine and I stay together or is it time to move on? What decisions will our principal make regarding next year? And once those decisions are made (June 1st is the deadline), how will I start preparing for any changes?
Yes, for school, spring is not a new beginning but the ending. It is time to reinforce all the important ideas for my students. Do they know how to advocate for themselves? Have they learned how to be kind and respectful of others? Do they understand the importance of learning? I only have three more months to teach them. Is it enough time?
I think I like the balance in my life. The juxtaposition of the earth beginning again and the year ending again. Maybe it's appropriate that I will send my students out into the world, away from the safe, secure harbor of the classroom and the elementary school, during springtime. Because, while it may be an ending for me, it is a new beginning for them. And I hope they all grow well.
'everything comes to an end'
'Daisy blue 1'