Yesterday was our final day of the school year. 180 days, more or less, under our belts. As a coach, I tend to miss being a classroom teacher the most during the shoulder seasons of the school year – the beginning of the year, when the challenge lies in creating a cohesive community of kids, and the end of the year, when breaking up that community results in tears and memories. Most years I can hold it together pretty well, avoiding tears by thinking ahead to the lazy days of summer.
But in the school at which I’m currently coaching, it’s the kids who leave crying each and every year. This was the third year I’ve coached here, and every time the 5th graders take their ceremonial final walk through the hallways on their way to the buses, it seems the entire school breaks down in tears, from 5th graders down to Kindergarteners. We teachers gather on the lawn to wave the buses off, and most of the kids are crowded to the windows, causing the buses to all list to one side, with tears streaming down their faces, some sobbing loudly. The boys are just as likely to be upset as the girls.
It’s a testament to the deep connection our teachers build with their students, and to the safety and comfort that the school represents in these children’s lives. When the rest of life is so uncertain, it’s comforting to know that your teacher loves you, and that school will always provide warmth, food, and opportunities for the future. We should all be so lucky to have a place like that in our lives. For it to be the place we work, well, that’s even better.