Friday, June 20, 2008

Ending the Year

Lots of craziness and fun go on as the school year ends. The teachers relax and let things slide; there's not so much actual teaching going on; it's hot out. I've been to several meetings this week that deteriorated into hysterics, as the teachers can barely hold it together anymore. My brain feels like it has turned into mush and I can't concentrate on anything except the gin and tonics that are helping me sleep at night.

Still, as a class, we've managed to have some adventures this week, among the exhaustion, stress, and frustration that define the end of June. I don't have an agenda so much anymore, so I am better at just letting us hang out together, chat, be silly, give each other crap. It's actually pretty rare for me to be sad at the end of the year -- I'm not that sentimental. But with this group, I would be sad if I hadn't just officially decided to move up to second grade with them next year. So I can enjoy them without being sad about saying good-bye -- instead I just think how cool it will be to have another year with them. (Except for when they are having tantrums, defying me, or whining endlessly, at which time I wonder what possessed me to want to spend another year with them.)

This week, though, we took a bird walk in the forest, which also happens to be a cemetery, so in addition to talking about birds (and catching a glimpse of a white-breasted nuthatch, a downy woodpecker, and other birds that commonly live in these parts), we talked about death and God a little. I mostly just said over and over again, "Yes, some people think God makes everything happen. Yes, some people think you go to heaven after you die. Yes, some people think Jesus was God's son. Different people believe different things about God." And, they mostly ignored me, as they often do, surely thinking to themselves, "Who is this crazy white lady we spend so much time with, and why does she say such strange things?"

We also made salad from our own garden,
took some silly walks,
and did some crazy dancing (see above).

And, I tore my classroom apart, another essential part of the sacred end-of-year ritual. It is both exhausting and refreshing to move everything, throw stuff out, pack things into boxes, and wonder how the hell you have acquired 7 bags of clothespins over the years, and who you could trick into taking some of them from you.

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