Wednesday, May 5, 2010

The End of the School Year

Part of being a successfully functioning adult is the ability to find closure, to end things well.

Ending things well is a part of the "hidden curriculum" for all teachers--teaching our youth to complete a task, to stick to it, to persevere and experience the fulfillment of closure.

Ever heard of "senioritis"?

All students are "seniors" at the end of the year. All students can see the end of the term and summer ahead, yet they all don't know how to carry on till the last day is finished. Time has a way of dragging its feet; events unfold much more slowly in real time than in the imagination.

So I discuss with my students this situation, talk with them. How many endings have they experienced? How many times have they carried a task through to completion? How many "graduations" have they had?

Not so many, and this truth is revealed in their ability (or inability) to manage these endings.

Sometimes it's easier to just ignore the whole responsibility thing and enjoy the moment. Sometimes it's easier to sever the connecting cord now and not wait till we reach the rope's end. Sometimes it's easier to accept the offer of anxious adults and to let them finish for you.

I've seen all these scenarios with my students, and this is what I have to say: it's best to hunker down and do the job yourself--do the whole job, do it in proper sequence, and never mind the bells and whistles at the end of the race. Enjoy them when the race is over.

Ending well is not always easy. Sometimes people need support.

Ending well is a skill well worth learning--an experience well worth living. Take this blog post, for example. I could have easily said I didn't have time to write, but now that I'm done, I've shared something important at a useful time. And now that you're done reading--carry your fortitude into the day.

Copyright 2010 by Thomas L. Kepler, all rights reserved


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